Comorbidities and quality of life among breast cancer survivors: A prospective study

Mei R. Fu, Deborah Axelrod, Amber A. Guth, Charles M. Clel, Caitlin E. Ryan, Kristen R. Weaver, Jeanna M. Qiu, Robin Kleinman, Joan Scagliola, Joseph J. Palamar, Gail D’Eramo Melkus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many breast cancer survivors have coexistent chronic diseases or comorbidities at the time of their cancer diagnosis. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the association of comorbidities on breast cancer survivors’ quality of life. A prospective design was used to recruit 140 women before cancer surgery , 134 women completed the study . Comorbidities were assessed using self-report and verified by medical record review and the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) before and 12-month after cancer surgery . Quality of life was evaluated using Short-Form Health Survey (SF -36 v2) . Descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, t-tests, Fisher’s exact test, and correlations were performed for data analysis. A total of 28 comorbidities were identified. Among the 134 patients, 73.8% had at least one of the comorbidities, 54.7% had 2–4, and only 7.4% had 5–8. Comorbidities did not change at 12 months after surgery . Numbers of comorbidities by patients’ self-report and weighted categorization of comorbidities by CCI had a similar negative correlation with overall quality of life scores as well as domains of general health, physical functioning, bodily pain, and vitality . Comorbidities, specifically hypertension, arthritis, and diabetes, were associated with poorer quality of life in multiple domains among breast cancer survivors. Future research should consider the combined influence of comorbidity and cancer on patients’ quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-242
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personalized Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 13 2015


  • Breast cancer
  • Chronic illness
  • Comorbidity
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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