Health behaviors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity affected quality of life (QOL) among survivors of lymphoma, according to the results of a study published in Leukemia & Lymphoma.

“Few studies have assessed the impact of change in health behaviors after a cancer diagnosis, specifically in lymphoma survivors,” the authors stated.

The prospective study evaluated data from 2805 adult patients (aged 18 years or older) within 9 months of a lymphoma diagnosis, which included baseline clinical data, health and risk-factor questionnaires, and a 3-year follow-up questionnaire. The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy – General scale (FACT-G Version 4) was used to determine QOL.

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Smoking at baseline and after 3 years was significantly associated with lower QOL among lymphoma survivors compared with never smokers (both P <.01), which was considered clinically significant. There was no difference between never and former smokers at either time point.

Baseline alcohol consumption was associated with a higher QOL score compared with never use of alcohol (P <.01), which was also considered clinically meaningful.

“In our cohort, the average alcohol consumption was 2.1 drinks per week, which is ‘moderate’ consumption,” the authors reported. They added that “Decline in overall physical health has been associated with decrease in alcohol consumption and this may explain our results.” The sample size was too small to evaluate the change in QOL with alcohol consumption after 3 years.

Higher QOL was associated with physical activity that met the America Cancer Society guideline at baseline and after 3 years (both P <.01), but only physical activity after 3 years met the criteria for clinical meaningfulness.

The authors concluded that “…QOL in lymphoma survivors is associated with their health behaviors and active interventions to promote positive lifestyle changes in lymphoma survivors are needed.”


Pophali PA, Larson MC, Rosenthal AC, et al. The association of health behaviors with quality of life in lymphoma survivors. Leuk Lymphoma. 2021;62(2):271-280. doi:10.1080/10428194.2020.1830389

This article originally appeared on Cancer Therapy Advisor