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Keywords:

  • survivorship;
  • secondary cancers;
  • health status;
  • late effects;
  • quality of life

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Little research has identified the physical and mental health status of survivors of multiple primary cancer diagnoses.

METHODS:

By using data from the population-based 2009 National Health Information Survey, 154 survivors of multiple primary cancer diagnoses, 1427 survivors of a single cancer diagnosis, and 25,004 individuals without a history of cancer diagnosis were identified. The multiple cancer group was compared with the single cancer and no cancer groups with regard to physical and mental health status using analysis of covariance and binary logistic regression.

RESULTS:

Relative to the no cancer group, the multiple cancer group reported significantly poorer mental health status, greater lifetime, recent, and current prevalence of a variety of medical conditions and comorbidities, and more health-related disability. Although observed group differences between the multiple cancer and single cancer groups were less pronounced than those between the multiple cancer and no cancer groups, a consistent pattern was also evident; the multiple cancer group reported significantly poorer status relative to the single cancer group across a range of mental and physical health and illness-related disability indices.

CONCLUSIONS:

Diagnosis of 2 or more primary cancers (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers) is associated with increased risk for poorer physical and mental health status over and above that associated with diagnosis of a single primary cancer. Survivors of multiple and single primary cancer diagnoses should be considered as distinct subgroups, and increased attention should be devoted to the unique status and needs of survivors of multiple primary cancer diagnoses. Cancer 2012;3645–3653. © 2011 American Cancer Society.