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13 Comorbid Conditions Decrease Survival, Increase Mortality in Elderly Breast Cancer Patients

TOP - August 2011 Vol 4, No 5 published on August 25, 2011 in Breast Cancer
Dawn Lagrosa

For breast cancer patients aged 66 years and older, nurses should consider comorbidities when discussing prognosis, according to an analysis of Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results–Medicare data.

In a US population of 64,034 patients diagnosed with breast cancer at a median age of 75 years, Patnaik and colleagues identified 13 comorbid conditions associated with decreased overall survival and increased all-cause mortality (Table). Among the study population, 58% had none of the selected comorbidities, 28.0% had 1 comorbidity, 8.8% had 2 comorbidities, and 4.9% had ≥3 of the conditions.

Table 1
Comorbid Conditions Associated with Decreased Survival

Kaplan-Meier survival curves showed that comorbidities are associated with survival, meaning that for a patient with comorbid conditions diagnosed at an early stage, that patient had similar or worse survival than a patient with no comorbid conditions diagnosed at a later stage.

The investigators concluded that their findings suggest that “careful attention to the effective management of comorbid conditions, as well as to the management of a patient’s cancer, may result in longer overall survival for older breast cancer patients.”

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Last modified: April 27, 2020