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J Cancer Surviv. 2015 Jun;9(2):239-51. doi: 10.1007/s11764-014-0403-1. Epub 2014 Oct 16.

The complex health profile of long-term cancer survivors: prevalence and predictors of comorbid conditions.

Author information

1
Behavioral Research Center, American Cancer Society, 250 Williams St 30303, Atlanta, GA, USA, corinne.leach@cancer.org.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Adult cancer survivors have complex medical profiles that may include chronic conditions beyond cancer. Few studies have examined the prevalence of comorbidities before and after a cancer diagnosis.

METHODS:

Cancer cases were sampled from two California cancer registries to examine medical conditions (ever experienced and developed after cancer) among 1,527 long-term breast, prostate, colorectal, and gynecological cancer survivors by socio-demographic, cancer-related, and health behavior variables.

RESULTS:

On average, survivors reported five medical conditions ever diagnosed (95 % CI, 4.8, 5.1) and 1.9 conditions (95 % CI, 1.8, 2.0) diagnosed after cancer. Breast cancer survivors reported the highest (5.8 ever, 2.9 post-cancer) and prostate survivors the lowest (4.0 ever, 1.0 post-cancer) comorbidity burden. Higher comorbidity burden was associated with older age, being a breast cancer survivor, divorced, widowed or separated, non-Hispanic White, overweight or obese, and not receiving chemotherapy. Breast and endometrial cancer survivors, as well as those more than 10 years post-diagnosis, obese, or physically inactive were more likely to report that these comorbidities occurred after cancer. Cancer treatment type, smoking, age, race/ethnicity, marital status, and education were not significant predictors of comorbidities acquired post-cancer.

CONCLUSIONS:

Cancer survivors report a large number of medical conditions, many identified after a cancer diagnosis. Findings suggest that time since cancer diagnosis, body mass index, and activity level are important contextual variables when managing survivor's post-treatment follow-up care.

IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS:

Survivors may benefit when health professionals recommend specific strategies to achieve a healthy weight and regular physical activity for better long-term health outcomes after cancer.

PMID:
25319681
DOI:
10.1007/s11764-014-0403-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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