Prevalence of comorbidities among older head and neck cancer survivors

This study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of comorbidities among patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) at the time of diagnosis and during their survivorship trajectory. Between 2004 and 2011, there were 10,542 participants diagnosed with HNSCC, with a mean age of 74.8 years. At the point of diagnosis, the most prevalent comorbidites were hypertension, hyperlipidemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes, and these increased over time. By five years from cancer diagnosis, patients were most likely to have newly diagnosed hypertension, dysphagia, anemia and weight loss. Recognition of the significant burden of comorbidities that these patients face in their survivorship periods can guide GPs to address them during ongoing care. Future research is needed to assess the level of care these patients are receiving, and use this to develop guidelines for care.

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