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J Clin Oncol. 2006 May 20;24(15):2304-10.

Comorbidity, disability, and geriatric syndromes in elderly cancer patients receiving home health care.

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Division of Health Policy, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University and the Center for Health Care Research, Cleveland, OH 44106-4945, USA.



To assess the prevalence of comorbidity, disability, and geriatric syndromes, or a combination thereof, in elders with cancer receiving home health care (HHC).


Using the Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System, we identified Ohio residents 65 years of age or older who were diagnosed with incident breast (n = 952), prostate (n = 324), or colorectal cancer (n = 1,276) during the 28-month study period, August 1999 through November 2001. We used the Outcome and Assessment Information Set, a database compiling comprehensive assessment forms completed for all HHC patients, to group individuals in independent and overlapping categories of comorbidity, disability, and geriatric syndromes on the basis of the patients' clinical condition 14 days before the date of the assessment.


The proportion with no comorbidity, disability, or geriatric syndromes was 26.4% in breast cancer patients, 12.0% in prostate cancer patients, and 14.0% in colorectal cancer patients. The proportion of patients presenting all three entities at once was 11.7%, 24.7%, and 15.7%, respectively, in three cancer sites. As expected, the proportion of patients with no comorbidity, disability, or geriatric syndromes declined gradually with increasing age, and that of patients with all three entities was highest among patients 85 years or older.


The proposed taxonomy will help us gain a more nuanced understanding of older cancer patients' clinical presentation and may lead to a more accurate identification of older patients who might benefit from standard cancer treatment, and those who might experience adverse outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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