May 20, 2024

Zenith Tranquil

Information treatments and health conditions

How Do Chronic Diseases Affect Cancer Treatment?

6 min read

A cancer diagnosis is challenging enough. But having a chronic disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or kidney problems, can affect how doctors treat your cancer.

Three out of four people diagnosed with cancer live with another major illness, according to an article published in 2021 in Trends in Cancer. The same article notes that chronic diseases can not only result in worse outcomes for cancer patients but also impact their chances of participating in clinical trials. This particularly affects older adults, who are more likely to have an existing chronic condition prior to a cancer diagnosis, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncologists.

Navigating cancer treatment with chronic diseases requires careful consideration. “As we approach the care of patients, we have to take into account these conditions as we tailor treatment plans,” says Daniel Landau, MD, a board-certified oncologist and hematologist with the Mesothelioma Center.

How Can Chronic Diseases and Cancer Treatments Impact Each Other?

Understanding how your chronic disease can influence cancer treatment, and vice versa, is important. “Many patients, by the time they are diagnosed with cancer, are at an advanced age or have numerous [coexisting] conditions,” Dr. Landau says. These coexisting conditions can affect any part of the body and include high blood pressure, history of stroke, diabetes, and more, he explains.

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