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Cancer survivors get less medical care

Posted - Sep. 13, 2004 at 4:40 p.m.



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BOSTON, Sep 13, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. cancer survivors are less likely to receive necessary care in a wide range of other non-cancer-related medical problems such as heart disease.

The study published in the online edition of Cancer, suggests a history of cancer may cause health care providers to ignore other chronic medical ailments, such as heart disease, heart failure, diabetes and lung disease.

As the almost 10 million U.S. cancer survivors live longer, they must be vigilant about monitoring for relapse but also diabetes, heart disease, strokes as well as other cancers, cautioned researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

The researchers examined the Medicare records of 14,000 colon-cancer survivors along with a group of healthy controls.

They found the colorectal cancer survivors were less likely than healthy controls to receive recommended medical care for a broad range of diseases or receive recommended preventive care, such as immunizations or cholesterol screening.

The findings, "raise the possibility that there is either a blinding focus on the prior malignancy or nihilism about the prognosis may leave cancer patients' other medical issues relatively ignored," the authors said.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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