Once diagnosed with cancer, the next step is to immediately start treatment for this disease. But maybe that hasn't been the best approach?
A study presented on April 3rd at the American Association for Cancer Research, conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, suggests that cancer survivors could benefit from a more comprehensive approach to their health, not just the cancer treatment.
Results from this study showed that 776 cancer survivors died: fifty-one percent from cancer and 49 percent from other causes. Cardiovascular disease was the primary cause.
This study used data from 1,807 adult cancer survivors that participated in this survey between 1988 and 2004. They were followed for up to 17 years. About 63.2 percent of men in the study and 66.9 percent of women had a cardiovascular condition, 58.7 percent of men and 62 percent of women had high blood pressure, and 61.3 percent of men and 70.5 percent of women had high cholesterol levels.
The study also showed that the longer patients survived after their initial diagnosis, the more likely they were to die from another disease: 32.8 percent died from another condition within five years of diagnosis, compared with 62.7 percent after 20 years.
“After the detection of cancer, clinicians and cancer survivors pay less attention to the prevention and treatment of other diseases and complications,” said study researcher Dr. Yi Ning, assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at Virginia Commonwealth University in an article by MSNBC. “We shouldn’t neglect other aspects of health because we are focused on cancer.”
In light of this new information, it will be interesting to see if the standard protocols are altered for newly diagnosed cancer patients.
It would also be interesting to hear if any other countries already have something like this in place. If you know of or work at a facility that focuses on overall health of a cancer patient after diagnosis, surveys, success rates and methodology this would be an interesting story! Please let me know if you have anything to add.