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Comorbidity Has Considerable Impact on Life Expectancy

Comorbidity-adjusted life expectancy may help tailor recommendations for cancer screenings

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Life expectancy in elderly individuals of the same chronological age varies with levels of comorbidity, according to research published in the Nov. 19 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Hyunsoon Cho, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues used Medicare data to estimate life expectancy in individuals aged 66 years and older without a history of cancer, with adjustments for comorbid conditions.

The researchers found that, compared with an average person of the same chronological age, individuals with comorbid conditions had shorter life expectancy, while those without comorbid conditions had longer life expectancy. At age 75 years, the estimated life expectancy of an individual with high comorbidity was approximately three years shorter than that of an average person in the United States. At age 75 years, the estimated life expectancy of an individual with no comorbid conditions was approximately three years longer than that of an average person in the United States.

"Life expectancy varies considerably by comorbidity status in elderly persons," the authors write. "Comorbidity-adjusted life expectancy may help physicians tailor recommendations for stopping or continuing cancer screening for individual patients."

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