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William J. Gradishar, MD, FACP, FASCO


AACR 2022: Impact of Comorbidities on the Overall Health of Older Breast Cancer Survivors

By: Vanessa A. Carter, BS
Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Dhauna Karam, MBBS, MD, of the Mayo Clinic Health System, Albert Lea/Austin, Minnesota, and colleagues examined factors associated with poor health in older breast cancer survivors, as these patients may be potentially vulnerable to poor mental and physical health after treatment. Presented during the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2022 (Abstract 5262), these results emphasized that comorbidities were common among older survivors of breast cancer in this prospective longitudinal cohort study, and do, in fact, impact patients’ self-reported overall health.

A survey was mailed to 1,273 patients aged 77 and older who were enrolled in the Mayo Clinic Breast Disease Registry and had stage 0 to IV breast cancer. Overall health, mental health, and physical function were assessed using three PROMIS-10 items, and self-reported comorbidities were collected. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify significant predictors of health. Clinical characteristics and participant demographics were also reported.

Approximately two-thirds (67%) of patients responded to the survey (n = 848), with 842 reporting their overall health. The median age at survey completion was 82 years, and the median time since cancer diagnosis was 12 years. Excellent or very good physical function, mental health, and overall health was reported by 77.1%, 63.5%, and 48% of participants, respectively.

Older age (18%), heart disease (14%), and lung disease (7%) were all associated with poorer self-reported overall health (P < .05). Furthermore, poorer mental health was statistically significantly related to heart disease (P = .03), and physical function appeared to be better in survivors without a history of stroke, lung disease, or diabetes (P < .05); those who were closer to their cancer diagnosis also reported better physical function (P = .03). Of note, tumor characteristics did not appear to correlate with physical function, mental health, or overall health.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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