Breast Cancer Plus Other Health Issues Linked to Worse
THURSDAY, June 30 (HealthDay News) -- Women diagnosed with
breast cancer who also suffer from other health problems have
higher death rates than women who just have breast cancer,
according to researchers.
Even compared with women with more advanced breast cancer but no
chronic illness, those who had conditions such as heart disease,
ulcers or diabetes still had a similar or lower survival rate, the
study authors reported in the June 30 online edition of the
Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
"Careful attention to the effective management of comorbid [co-occurring] conditions, as well as to the management of a patient's cancer, may result in longer overall survival for older breast cancer patients," Jennifer Patnaik, from the University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, and colleagues wrote in a journal news release.
The researchers identified more than 64,000 women aged 66 years
and older with breast cancer. Forty-two percent had a history of
one or more of the following 13 health conditions: stroke, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney failure, congestive
heart failure, dementia, diabetes, liver disease, heart attack,
paralysis, peripheral vascular disease, previous cancer, rheumatoid
arthritis, and ulcers.
The study showed that each of these conditions was associated
with increased risk of death from any cause, including cancer.
Women between 66 and 74 years old were particularly vulnerable.
Patnaik and colleagues concluded that whether or not breast
cancer patients have other health issues is an important factor in
predicting outcomes and managing a woman's cancer to ensure longer
The authors of an editorial accompanying the study recommended
that breast cancer treatment be customized and that any
co-occurring conditions be jointly managed between a woman's
oncologist and primary care physician.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute provides more information on
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