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Chronic diseases hinder good cancer survival rates
Date:11/15/2013

There are many people in this position and the number is increasing; cancer patients who not only have to fight against cancer, but also suffer from other diseases. So-called comorbidity is a large and growing problem, not least because we are becoming older and age increases the risk of contracting cancer as well as other diseases.

How much diseases such as diabetes, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), arthritis, depression and cardiovascular disease mean for cancer survival depends on the type of cancer; but the overall picture is the same. Other diseases have a strong negative impact on both the one and five-year survival rate. For example, for breast cancer the five-year survival rate for patients without other diseases is 83 percent. For patients with one or two other chronic diseases the survival rate is 64 percent, while it is 50 percent for those with three or more diseases. This is shown by new figures from the Central Denmark Region that have just been published in a special edition of the scientific journal Clinical Epidemiology. This edition focuses on cancer and comorbidity and is based on research from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital.

Poorer survival to be expected - but not so poor

According to Henrik Toft Srensen, professor of clinical epidemiology at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital, it is to be expected that survival rates are worse if you have a poorer state of health. But it is problematic that a similar improvement in the survival rate of this group of cancer patients has not happened.

"Our studies show that other diseases have a very significant importance for survival, and we can see that these patients have not experienced the same progress in survival rates as other cancer patients have experienced during the last 15 years," says professor Henrik Toft Srensen, who has written the editorial in the journal.

The problem has previously been ove
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Contact: Henrik Toft Sørensen
hts@dce.au.dk
45-87-16-82-15
Aarhus University
Source:Eurekalert

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