08 Apr Cancer Survivors Face Long Term Increased Mortality
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Riccardo Capocaccia
Evaluative Epidemiology Unit
Department of Preventive and Predictive Medicine
Fondazione Istituto Nazionale Tumori
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Capocaccia: Life expectancy of cancer patients is usually provided at diagnosis, as a measure of cancer burden. However, no systematic data are available on life expectancy at different times after diagnosis, as a measure of the residual impact of the disease in survivors.
At diagnosis, young patients face a higher loss in life expectancy, with respect to cancer-free people of the same age, than older ones. Thereafter, life expectancy gradually approaches, but hardly reaches, that of all patients of the general population.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Capocaccia: Cancer survivors are likely to be a frail population subgroup, both for the consequences of cancer and of its treatment, and for possible risk factors (e.g. smoking, nutritional and life style habits), that have caused their cancer, but can be also associated to other life-threatening conditions. Great attention should be therefore paid to primary and secondary prevention and to general health promotion, particularly in long-term cancer survivors.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Capocaccia: Life expectancy estimates should be personalized according to the main prognostic factors of the diagnosed cancer, particularly considering stage and the main biological characteristics of the tumour (for example, hormone receptors in breast cancer).
For cancers still presenting an extra risk of death in long-term survivors, the main risk factors and the leading causes of death (related or not to cancer) should be investigated to better address the prevention and health promotion activity in this population group.
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Riccardo Capocaccia (2015). Cancer Survivors Face Long Term Increased Mortality