The Effect of Prostate Cancer Diagnosis on Adherence to Medications for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

Muhammad Aamir Zaffar, Muhammad Fazeel Iqbal, Muhammad Rameez


To date, few studies have explored whether being diagnosed with cancer interrupted medication adherence for their non-cancer chronic conditions.35-37 This study examined the effect of being diagnosed with prostate cancer on adherence to OHAs among patients with type 2 diabetes. Non-metastatic, lower-risk prostate cancer is an excellent case study for studying survivorship care because it is prevalent and has high survival rates; diabetes is important not only because of its prevalence but also its morbidity and associated health care costs. This study hypothesized that patients would become less adherent to their OHAs during the first year post–prostate cancer diagnosis compared to their pre-diagnosis adherence levels, however their adherence would return to similar rates during the second year after being diagnosed. This study found that patients diagnosed with prostate cancer did have decreased adherence when compared with controls in the period immediately following cancer-diagnosis; however, contrary to our hypothesis, adherence to their diabetes medications never returned to pre-diagnosis levels. A similar decline was observed among all stages of prostate cancer patients during the 6 months post-diagnosis.17 However, our current study had a longer follow-up period (2 years vs. 6 months post– cancer diagnosis) and more years of data. In addition, This study only included patients with non-metastatic prostate cancer, a group for whom managing comorbidities would be a higher priority than patients with more aggressive cancer. The finding that diabetes patients diagnosed with a highly survivable cancer have decreased adherence to their diabetes medications two years after diagnosis is concerning. Certainly, primary care physicians and oncologists should not necessarily assume that their patients with chronic diseases will return to their baseline medication adherence levels after completing cancer treatments, particularly when patients believe controlling their diabetes or other chronic conditions is not as necessary as it truly is.38 Given the morbidity and mortality from non-cancer chronic conditions, providers should actively emphasize the importance of taking all medications.


Non-metastatic prostate, type 2 diabetes, OHAs

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