General Health of Cancer Survivors Often Overlooked

Their non-cancer health problems tend to be poorly managed, study finds

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MONDAY, Sept. 13, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Cancer survivors often don't receive necessary medical care for health problems that are not related to their cancer.

So says a study published in the Sept. 13 online issue of Cancer.

The study findings suggest that doctors may ignore chronic health problems such as diabetes, lung disease, heart failure and heart disease in patients with a history of cancer.

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston compared Medicare claims from more than 14,000 colon cancer survivors with a group of healthy control subjects.

The study found the colon cancer survivors were less likely to receive recommended medical care for management of their chronic diseases. They were also less likely to receive recommended preventive care, such as cholesterol screenings or immunizations.

Colon cancer survivors treated by both a primary-care doctor and a cancer specialist received the greatest proportion of recommended non-cancer care, while cancer survivors treated only by a cancer specialist received the least amount of recommended non-cancer care, the study found.

There is no good rationale for not providing cancer survivors with appropriate care for chronic health problems, the study authors wrote.

More information

The National Cancer Institute has more about life after cancer treatment.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons Inc., news release, Sept. 13, 2004

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