Non-cancer adverse health conditions and perceived health and function among cancer survivors participating in a community-based cohort study in Washington County, Maryland

J Cancer Surviv. 2008 Mar;2(1):12-9. doi: 10.1007/s11764-008-0046-1. Epub 2008 Feb 12.


Introduction: This study was conducted in an ongoing community-based cohort study to examine the prevalence of non-cancer adverse health conditions among cancer survivors and the association of these conditions with self-rated health and functional status.

Methods: Data were analyzed from CLUE II, a community-based cohort study in Washington County, Maryland that began in 1989. Cross-sectional comparisons were made between 1,261 cancer survivors and 1,261 age- and gender-matched individuals without a history of cancer. Information on non-cancer adverse health conditions, self-rated health, and activities of daily living was based on self-report.

Results: Compared to individuals without a history of cancer, cancer survivors were significantly more likely to report a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease (33.8% versus 29.8%; p = 0.009) and endocrine disease (other than diabetes) (17.0% versus 14.3%; p = 0.02). Further, cancer survivors reporting two or more non-cancer adverse health conditions had a greater likelihood of reporting fair or poor self-rated health (odds ratio (OR) 4.11; 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 3.06, 5.54), and difficulty with at least one activity of daily living (OR 6.03; 95% CI 4.01, 9.05) compared to cancer survivors who did not report other adverse health conditions.

Discussions/conclusions: Findings from this cross-sectional data analysis indicate that cancer survivors are at increased risk for non-cancer adverse health conditions, which are associated with poorer self-rated health, more interference with normal activities, and functional limitations.

Implications for cancer survivors: Increased attention must be given to the preventive care and treatment of non-cancer adverse health conditions among cancer survivors to decrease non-cancer morbidity and mortality and to maintain and improve quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Endocrine System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maryland / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Perception
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors*