Autoimmune Diseases and Cancer Co-morbidity in the U.S. Elderly, 1979 to 2001

Hai Huang, Duke University
Kenneth G. Manton, Duke University
Gene R Lowrimore, Duke University
Linyan Hu, Duke University
Kenneth C. Land, Duke University

It is believed that co-morbidity monotonically increases with age. But little is known about autoimmune diseases and cancer as co-morbid conditions in the US elderly. Using Multiple Cause of Death Data produced by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), this study investigates the proportion of cancer deaths where a.)autoimmune disease was the underlying cause of death and b.)autoimmune disease deaths where cancer was the underlying cause of death, in the elderly U. S. population age ≥65 for the years 1979-2001. Male and female proportions were found to be different with females demonstrating higher levels of co-morbidity when the underlying cause of death is cancer, and lower levels of co-morbidity, when the underlying cause of death is autoimmune disease. Possible reasons for these results are discussed.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Health, Mortality, Aging, Biology