Breast cancer survival

WOMEN with early-stage breast cancer and comorbidities have death rates similar to those of women with later-stage breast cancer, new research shows.

In a database study of more than 60,000 women aged 66 years or older with breast cancer, US researchers found that 42% of the women had at least one of 13 comorbidities.

Each comorbidity was associated with increased mortality, including an 11% increased risk in those with myocardial infarction, a 70% increased risk in those with congestive heart failure and a 96% increased risk in those with dementia.

In patients aged 66–74 years who had stage one breast cancer tumours, survival outcomes for all comorbidities were the same as for women who had stage two tumours but no comorbidities.

The authors said the most common pattern was for comorbidities, such as myocardial infarction, stroke, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, to shift survival outcomes one stage higher