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Journal of Cancer Epidemiology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 206414, 7 pages
Clinical Study

Chronic Diseases among Older Cancer Survivors

1Department of General Practice, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kapucijnenvoer 33, Bus 7001, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
2Department of General Practice, Maastricht University, Peter Debyeplein 1, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
3Research Department, NIVEL (Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research), Otterstraat 118–124, P.O. Box 1568, 3500 BN Utrecht, The Netherlands
4Department of General Practice, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Centre, Van der Boechorststraat 7, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Received 9 February 2012; Revised 30 April 2012; Accepted 21 May 2012

Academic Editor: Christine Campbell

Copyright © 2012 Laura Deckx et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To compare the occurrence of pre-existing and subsequent comorbidity among older cancer patients (60 years) with older non-cancer patients. Material and Methods. Each cancer patient (n=3835, mean age 72) was matched with four non-cancer patients in terms of age, sex, and practice. The occurrence of chronic diseases was assessed cross-sectionally (lifetime prevalence at time of diagnosis) and longitudinally (incidence after diagnosis) for all cancer patients and for breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer patients separately. Cancer and non-cancer patients were compared using logistic and Cox regression analysis. Results. The occurrence of the most common pre-existing and incident chronic diseases was largely similar in cancer and non-cancer patients, except for pre-existing COPD (OR 1.21, 95% CI 1.06–1.37) and subsequent venous thrombosis in the first two years after cancer diagnosis (HR 4.20, 95% CI 2.74–6.44), which were significantly more frequent (P<0.01) among older cancer compared to non-cancer patients. Conclusion. The frequency of multimorbidity in older cancer patients is high. However, apart from COPD and venous thrombosis, the incidence of chronic diseases in older cancer patients is similar compared to non-cancer patients of the same age, sex, and practice.