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Health Care Financ Rev. 2008 Summer;29(4):41-56.

Cancer, comorbidities, and health-related quality of life of older adults.

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National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, MD 20892-7344, USA.


This study examined the physical and mental health of 126,685 males and females age 65 or over, with and without cancer that completed a Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (MHOS) between 1998-2002. Cancer information was ascertained through the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program and linked to MHOS data. Results indicated that across most cancer types, cancer patients reported significantly more comorbid conditions and poorer physical and mental health compared with patients without cancer. Negative associations were most pronounced in those with two or more comorbidities and in those diagnosed with cancer within the past year.

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