Comorbidity has large impact on colorectal cancer (CRC) treatment and outcomes and may increase as the population ages. We aimed to evaluate the prevalence and time trends of comorbid diseases in patients with CRC from 1995 to 2010. The Eindhoven Cancer Registry registers comorbidity in all patients with primary CRC in the South of the Netherlands. We analyzed the prevalence of serious comorbid diseases in four time frames from 1995 to 2010. Thereby, we addressed its association with age, gender and socio-economic status (SES). The prevalence of comorbidity was registered in 27,339 patients with primary CRC. During the study period, the prevalence of comorbidity increased from 47% to 62%, multimorbidity increased from 20% to 37%. Hypertension and cardiovascular diseases were most prevalent and increased largely over time (respectively 16-29% and 12-24%). Pulmonary diseases increased in women, but remained stable in men. Average age at diagnosis increased from 68.3 to 69.5 years (p = 0.004). A low SES and male gender were associated with a higher risk of comorbidity (not changing over time). This study indicates that comorbidity among patients with CRC is common, especially in males and patients with a low SES. The prevalence of comorbidity increased from 1995 to 2010, in particular in presumably nutritional diseases. Ageing, increased life expectancy and life style changes may contribute to more comorbid diseases. Also, improved awareness among health care providers on the importance of comorbidity may have resulted in better registration. The increasing burden of comorbidity in patients with CRC emphasizes the need for more focus on individualized medicine. What's new Treating cancer in a patient who also has other diseases or conditions can be challenging, but is not unusual. In this study, the authors looked at comorbidity in patients with colorectal cancer over a period of 16 years, and found it increased over the time frame of the study, particularly hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Patients with multiple conditions are less likely to respond well to treatment. These data underscore the importance of individualized treatment and awareness of other conditions that are increasingly present alongside the cancer. Copyright

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Keywords colorectal neoplasms, comorbidity, epidemiology, humans, individualized medicine
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Journal International Journal of Cancer
van Leersum, N.J, Janssen-Heijnen, M.L.G, Wouters, M.W.J.M, Rütten, H, Coebergh, J.W.W, Tollenaar, R.A.E.M, & Lemmens, V.E.P.P. (2013). Increasing prevalence of comorbidity in patients with colorectal cancer in the South of the Netherlands 1995-2010. International Journal of Cancer, 132(9), 2157–2163. doi:10.1002/ijc.27871