Cancer Care in the Context of Comorbidity (#124)
As populations age, the prevalence of chronic disease increases. Almost all chronic diseases are more common among the elderly than younger adults, and many of these conditions are not life threatening in the short term. Consequently, many people live with, rather than die from chronic health conditions. Cancer is often a chronic disease, with long-term consequences for health and quality of life, and is itself more prevalent among the elderly. Concomitant chronic physical and/or mental health conditions, in addition to cancer, are now the norm rather than the exception and can have profound effects on individuals. Comorbidity results in increased risk of hospitalisation, adverse effects for treatment, multiple competing demands on patients and health care professionals, high health care costs, reduced quality of life and higher mortality. Health care service providers, policy makers and researchers need to be able to respond adequately to the requirements of individuals with these complex health needs.
This symposium aims to explore issues relating to managing cancer in the context of comorbidity. Specifically, its aims are 1) to describe how cancer and other chronic conditions interact; 2) to provide up to date Australian and New Zealand evidence relating to the prevalence and impact of comorbidity among cancer patients; 3) to describe research relating to the impact of comorbidity on patients, and on clinical decision-making; 4) to describe an intervention designed to assist in the management of cancer patients with complex health needs and enhance self-management, and 5) to identify options for intervention to improve health and quality of life outcomes for patients with cancer and comorbidity.