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Differences in chronic conditions and lifestyle behaviour between people with a history of cancer and matched controls

Health care of cancer survivors has traditionally focused on detecting cancer recurrence, with less focus on managing chronic diseases. This is despite growing evidence that cancer survivors have a significant burden of non-cancer chronic illness.1,2 Most of this evidence has come from population-based studies,3,4 with few case–control studies.5 An Australian population-based study showed that long-term cancer survivors were more likely than controls to report multiple long-term conditions.6 Another study found that people with a history of cancer were nearly 50% more likely to die of non-cancer causes than the general population.7

Very few studies have looked at the impact of sex on the association between cancer and comorbidity. A Dutch cancer registry study of colon cancer patients showed that comorbidity was more likely in men and in patients with lower socioeconomic status (SES),8,9 consistent with general patterns of comorbidity in people without cancer.10 Another study of cancer patients from the Dutch registry also showed a higher likelihood…