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Health behaviors of 18-39 yo survivors of childhood cancers

Institution: University of Southern California
Investigator(s): Joel Milam, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2019 (Cycle 28) Grant #: 28IR-0052 Award: $670,328
Subject Area: Tobacco-Use Prevention and Cessation
Award Type: High Impact Research Project Award

Initial Award Abstract

Treatment improvements have increased the survival rates for childhood cancers.  However, the majority of childhood cancer survivors are at high risk for experiencing early life health issues (e.g., secondary cancers, heart disease) and death. Thus, healthy behaviors are important for this population to delay these cancer treatment-related late effects. Further, our understanding of health behaviors among Hispanic cancer survivors is limited because this ethnic group is underrepresented in survivorship research efforts.  The goal of this project is to examine tobacco and other substance use behaviors among emerging adult Hispanic and non-Hispanic childhood cancer survivors (CCS).  This project will explore the following questions among this population: 1) How common is tobacco use, e-cigarette use, marijuana use, and binge drinking of alcohol use?, 2) Is this substance use similar between CCS and non-cancer populations at older ages (e.g., ages 21+)?, and 3) Is substance use associated with mental health among CCS?

CCS data will be obtained from a large ongoing study of emerging adult survivors of childhood cancers in Los Angeles County (n=1,249; ages 18-39; ~49% Hispanic).  Data will be used to examine risk (e.g., depressive symptoms) and protective (e.g., healthcare utilization) factors of substance use among Hispanic and non-Hispanic survivors.  In a subset of these participants (who participated in a prior pilot study), we will examine relationships with substance use over time. Non-cancer participant data will be obtained from the California Health Interview Survey study.  These comparisons will allow the examination of the potential impact of the cancer experience on substance use behaviors. We will also interview a subset of CSS to identify issues concerning substance use among this population. This project will entail multiple sets of analyses/studies leveraging several unique and valuable data resources.  Results will inform community outreach efforts focused on cancer survivorship among adolescents and young adults.