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Cancer survivors are less likely to receive recommended care for chronic conditions than people who haven't had cancer, according to a new study. A history of cancer can shift the focus of care away from other conditions that could shorten someone's life expectancy, researchers report.


Researchers analyzed Medicare claims data for about 15,000 people who'd survived at least 5 years after a diagnosis of nonmetastatic colorectal cancer. Researchers compared that data with a matched group of Medicare patients who didn't have a history of cancer.


Compared with those who'd never had cancer, cancer survivors were 19% less likely to receive preventative care and recommended care for various acute and chronic conditions, including diabetes and heart failure. The risk of inadequate care was higher among poor people, African-Americans, and the elderly. Patients fared better when they received follow-up care with both an oncologist and primary care physician.




"Under Use of Necessary Care among Cancer Survivors," Cancer, C. Earle and B. Neville, October 15, 2004.