Background Limited data exist on the burden of comorbidity among patients with squamous cell head and neck cancer (SCCHN) before and during cancer treatment. Methods The precancer prevalence and incidence rates of 8 comorbid conditions were estimated among a population-based cohort of 1499 patients with SCCHN in the Netherlands. Patients with cancer, treatments, and comorbidities were identified in the PHARMO Record Linkage System (RLS) using hospital admissions and/or dispensing codes. Prevalence proportions and incidence rates were also compared against a matched cancer-free population. Results Cardiovascular (41%) and respiratory diseases (12%) were the most prevalent comorbidities. Incidence rates of most comorbidities were highest the first 6 months after cancer diagnosis and decreased over time. Patients receiving chemotherapy-based treatment had significantly higher incidence rates of anemia and other malignant diseases. Conclusions High rates of acute and chronic comorbidity were observed; knowledge of comorbidity burden aids in establishing a benefit-risk profile for investigational SCCHN therapies.

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Head & Neck: journal for the sciences and specialities of the head and neck
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Landis, S. H., El-Hariry, I. A., van Herk-Sukel, M., van den Haak, P., Janssen-Heijnen, M., Penning-Van Beest, F., & Herings, R. (2012). Prevalence and incidence of acute and chronic comorbidity in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Head & Neck: journal for the sciences and specialities of the head and neck, 34(2), 238–244. doi:10.1002/hed.21720