The underutilization of preventive cardiovascular measures in patients with cancer: An analysis of the behavioural risk factor surveillance system, 2011-2022

Document Type



Office of the Provost; Cardiology


Aims: To characterize the influence of a cancer diagnosis on the use of preventive cardiovascular measures in patients with and without cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Methods: Data from the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey (spanning 2011 to 2022) were used. Multivariable logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounders were applied to calculate average marginal effects (AME), the average difference in the probability of using a given therapy between patients with and without cancer. Outcomes of interest included the use of pharmacological therapies, physical activity, smoking cessation, and post-CVD rehabilitation.
Results: Among 5,012,721 respondents, 579,114 reported a history of CVD (coronary disease or stroke), and 842,221 reported a diagnosis of cancer. The association between cancer and the use of pharmacological therapies varied between those with versus without CVD (p-value for interaction: <0.001). Among patients with CVD, a cancer diagnosis was associated with a lower use of blood pressure-lowering medications (AME: -1.46% [95% CI: -2.19 to -0.73%]), lipid-lowering medications (AME: -2.34% [95% CI: -4.03 to -0.66%]), and aspirin (AME: -6.05% [95% CI: -8.88 to -3.23%]). Among patients without CVD, there were no statistically significant differences between patients with and without cancer regarding pharmacological therapies. Additionally, cancer was associated with a significantly lower likelihood of engaging in physical activity in the overall cohort, and in using post-CVD rehabilitation regimens, particularly post-stroke rehabilitation.
Conclusions: Preventive pharmacological agents are underutilized in those with cancer and concomitant CVD, and physical activity is underutilized in patients with cancer in those with or without CVD.


Volume, issue, and pagination are not provided by the author/publisher.

Publication (Name of Journal)

European Journal of Preventive Cardiology