Smoking, Binge Drinking, and Drug Use Among Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Meta-Analysis
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INTRODUCTION: Childhood cancer survivors are at risk for late effects of therapy, some of which may be exacerbated by smoking, alcohol, or drug use. We undertook a meta-analysis of the literature to determine whether survivors engage in risk-taking behaviors at rates different from their peers/siblings. METHODS: Studies comparing current engagement in risk-taking behaviors between cancer survivors and siblings or matched peers were identified in MEDLINE (1946-), EMBASE (1947-), PsychINFO (1806-), and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register. Two reviewers assessed publications for inclusion and extracted data independently. Studies were combined using inverse variance weighting to determine odds ratios (OR) and prevalence rates of risk-taking behaviors in survivors compared to controls. RESULTS: Fourteen of 1,713 studies satisfied inclusion criteria. Twelve assessed smoking, six binge drinking, and seven drug use. Among survivors, 22% (95% confidence interval 0.19, 0.26) smoked, 20% (0.08, 0.51) were binge drinkers, and 15% (0.10, 0.23) used drugs. Survivors were less likely than siblings to smoke (OR 0.68 [0.49, 0.96]) or binge drink (OR 0.77 [0.68, 0.88]), but similarly likely to use drugs (OR 0.33 [0.03, 3.28]). Survivors were less likely than matched peers to smoke (OR 0.54 [0.42, 0.70]) or use drugs (OR 0.57 [0.40, 0.82]), but equally likely to binge drink (OR 0.97 [0.38, 2.49]). CONCLUSIONS: Childhood cancer survivors engage in similar or lower rates of risk taking than their siblings/peers. Future studies should identify survivors most likely to benefit from focused interventions, and determine the impact of risk-taking behaviors on the risk for late effects of cancer therapy.
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