The number of Chinese cancer survivors is increasing due to the trend of an aging population and improved cancer survival. It is urgently required to estimate the health status of cancer survivors and provide scientific evidence for future health care reform. This study aimed to evaluate the general health status of cancer survivors older than 45 years in China.
We identified cancer survivors (n = 354) and participants without cancer (n = 16,664) in the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). Physical and mental health information collected by questionnaire were compared between cancer survivors and cancer-free controls.
The mean age of cancer survivors was 61.0 years. More cancer survivors were female (68.9% vs. 52.3%, P < 0.001) and lived in a rural region (43.8% vs. 38.4%, P = 0.039) than those without cancer. Cancer survivors and participants without cancer did not show significant differences in age, marital status, education or BMI. The health status of middle-aged and older cancer survivors are shown in the table. Cancer survivors had more concomitant chronic diseases than participants without cancer (2.75 vs. 2.00, P < 0.001). The current health condition reported by cancer survivors themselves was poorer than no cancer group (3.87 vs. 3.38, P < 0.001). The daily activity score was higher in the cancer group (3.53 vs. 2.39, P < 0.001), which indicated that cancer survivors had more difficulties in their daily life than other middle-aged and older participants. There was no statistically significant difference in cognitive function between these two groups even after adjustment (12.61 vs. 12.90, P = 0.612). Cancer survivors had more depressive symptoms than participants without cancer after adjustment (10.07 vs. 8.01, P = 0.003).Table: 1649P
Health status of middle-aged and older cancer survivors and participants without cancer from the CHARLS
|Characteristic||Total (N = 17,018)||Cancer survivors (n = 354)||No cancer (n = 16,664)||P value||P value†|
|Number of concomitant chronic diseases, mean ± SD||2.02 ± 1.70||2.75 ± 2.13||2.00 ± 1.69||<0.001|
|Self-reported health score (1-5), mean ± SD||3.39 ± 0.38||3.87 ± 0.82||3.38 ± 0.87||<0.001||<0.001|
|Daily activity, mean ± SD||2.41 ± 3.36||3.53 ± 3.85||2.39 ± 3.35||<0.001||<0.001|
|Cognitive function, mean ± SD||12.89 ± 5.69||12.61 ± 5.60||12.90 ± 5.69||0.629||0.612|
|Depression, mean ± SD||8.05 ± 6.41||10.07 ± 7.06||8.01 ± 6.39||<0.001||0.003|
Adjusted for age, sex, region, and number of concomitant chronic diseases.
The health status of middle-aged and older cancer survivors is poor in China. High-quality and cost-effective supportive care for these individuals is needed.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 61435001) and CAMS Innovation Fund for Medical Sciences (No. 2016-I2M-1-001, No. 2017-I2M-4-003).
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.