The multimorbidity profile of South African women newly diagnosed with breast cancer

Oluwatosin A. Ayeni, Shane A. Norris, Maureen Joffe, Herbert Cubasch, Sarah Nietz, Ines Buccimazza, Urishka Singh, Sharon Čačala, Laura Stopforth, Wenlong C. Chen, Valerie A. McCormack, Daniel S. O'Neil, Judith S. Jacobson, Alfred I. Neugut, Paul Ruff, Lisa K. Micklesfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Multimorbidity in women with breast cancer may delay presentation, affect treatment decisions and outcomes. We described the multimorbidity profile of women with breast cancer, its determinants, associations with stage at diagnosis and treatments received. We collected self-reported data on five chronic conditions (hypertension, diabetes, cerebrovascular diseases, asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis), determined obesity using body mass index (BMI) and tested HIV status, in women newly diagnosed with breast cancer between January 2016 and April 2018 in five public hospitals in South Africa. We identified determinants of ≥2 of the seven above-mentioned conditions (defined as multimorbidity), multimorbidity itself with stage at diagnosis (advanced [III–IV] vs. early [0–II]) and multimorbidity with treatment modalities received. Among 2,281 women, 1,001 (44%) presented with multimorbidity. Obesity (52.8%), hypertension (41.3%), HIV (22.0%) and diabetes (13.7%) were the chronic conditions that occurred most frequently. Multimorbidity was more common with older age (OR = 1.02; 95% CI 1.01–1.03) and higher household socioeconomic status (HSES) (OR = 1.06; 95% CI 1.00–1.13). Multimorbidity was not associated with advanced-stage breast cancer at diagnosis, but for self-reported hypertension there was less likelihood of being diagnosed with advanced-stage disease in the adjusted model (OR 0.80; 95% CI 0.64–0.98). Multimorbidity was associated with first treatment received in those with early-stage disease, p = 0.003. The prevalence of multimorbidity is high among patients with breast cancer. Our findings suggest that multimorbidity had a significant impact on treatment received in those with early-stage disease. There is need to understand the impact of multimorbidity on breast cancer outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-374
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2020


  • breast cancer
  • chronic conditions
  • multimorbidity
  • stage at diagnosis and South African women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'The multimorbidity profile of South African women newly diagnosed with breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this