Authors: Eytan DF, Blackford AL, Eisele DW, Fakhry C
Title: Prevalence of Comorbidities among Older Head and Neck Cancer Survivors in the United States.
Journal: Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 160(1):85-92
Date: 2019 Jan
PubMed ID: 30252608
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of comorbidities among patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) at the time of their cancer diagnosis and during their survivorship trajectory. The second aim was to evaluate the differences in comorbidities developed according to treatment type received. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cross-sectional. SETTING: SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results)-Medicare linked database. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Individuals with a first-incident primary diagnosis of HNSCC from 2004 to 2011 per the SEER-Medicare database were included in analysis. The presence or absence of 30 comorbid conditions of interest was identified during distinct periods and analyzed according to treatment with surgery alone, primary (chemo)radiation, or surgery with (chemo)radiation. RESULTS: The study population consisted of 10,524 individuals diagnosed with HNSCC, with a mean age of 74.8 years. At diagnosis, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes were the most prevalent comorbidities, and they increased over time. The probability of developing treatment-related comorbidities such as pneumonia, dysphagia, weight loss, malnutrition, and dental issues rose significantly in the short and long term following treatment ( P < .05). By 5 years from cancer diagnosis, patients were most likely to have newly diagnosed hypertension, dysphagia, anemia, and weight loss. Primary surgery alone was associated with a lower risk of diagnosis with these treatment-related comorbidities, as compared with treatments involving radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy in the primary or adjuvant settings ( P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: There is a large burden of comorbidities among patients following HNSCC treatment, which warrant clinical attention during surveillance.