The post-treatment experience of cancer survivors with pre-existing cardiopulmonary disease

Heather Becker, Ruth Rechis, Sook Jung Kang, Adama Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the cancer experience of survivors with pre-existing diagnoses of heart and/or lung disease following active treatment. Method: The Lance Armstrong Foundation recruited cancer survivors throughout the United States to complete a web-based survey to provide insight into post-treatment supportive care needs. Experts in survey methodology and oncology, as well as cancer survivors, provided input into the survey. Results: Among the 2,307 respondents, 137 individuals had been told by their physicians that they had heart or lung problems. They were 50 years old on average, and most were more than 5 years past active treatment. Two thirds of these respondents reported pain for long periods, and 20% of them agreed that they now need help with everyday tasks that they did not need help with before their cancer. Among those who were tired, had no energy, or had trouble sleeping and/or resting, less than half (47%) agreed that they had received help with this problem. One third of these respondents indicated that they had decreased their physical activity since their cancer diagnosis because of fatigue, and 26% decreased their activities because of pain. More respondents indicated that their needs were met during their cancer treatment than afterwards. Conclusions: Researchers and healthcare providers are urged to consider the unmet supportive care needs of cancer survivors with co-morbid conditions following active treatment, particularly the necessity for careful monitoring of their complex health conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1351-1355
Number of pages5
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement Partial support for the analyses reported here was provided by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, R21CA133381. The authors acknowledge the assistance of Wendy Sera, Ph.D. in editing this manuscript.


  • Cancer care needs
  • Comorbidities
  • Heart and lung
  • Long-term cancer survivorship


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