The dominant tendency in behavioral medicine has been to focus on one physical condition at a time, however people with two or more physical diseases (multi-morbidities), or placed at risk for other diseases by having or being treated for an index condition is common, especially among older adults. Multi-morbid conditions often have common risk factors and pathogenesis, and are the targets of similar behavioral interventions. Sometimes the term “complex patient” has been used to refer to someone with multi-morbidities. In 2011, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored a 2-day workshop on patients with both cancer and cardiovascular disease. The high level of engagement and exchange suggested there is a need for an ongoing discussion of the multi-morbidities in behavioral medicine. Our Special Interest Group affords the opportunity to consider health promotion, treatment and common biological mechanisms for translational research across disease silos.
For more information visit the National Cancer Institute's page on Key Initiatives: The Complex Patient and Co-Morbid Conditions.