Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Whilst multi-morbidity is known to be a concern in people with cancer, very little is known about the risk of cancer in multi-morbid patients. This study aims to investigate the risk of being diagnosed with lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer associated with multi-morbidity. METHODS: We investigated the association between multi-morbidity and subsequent risk of cancer diagnosis in UK Biobank. Cox models were used to estimate the relative risks of each cancer of interest in multi-morbid participants, using the Cambridge Multimorbidity Score. The extent to which reverse causation, residual confounding and ascertainment bias may have impacted on the findings was robustly investigated. RESULTS: Of the 436,990 participants included in the study who were cancer-free at baseline, 21.6% (99,965) were multi-morbid (≥ 2 diseases). Over a median follow-up time of 10.9 [IQR 10.0-11.7] years, 9,019 prostate, 7,994 breast, 5,241 colorectal, and 3,591 lung cancers were diagnosed. After exclusion of the first year of follow-up, there was no clear association between multi-morbidity and risk of colorectal, prostate or breast cancer diagnosis. Those with ≥ 4 diseases at recruitment had double the risk of a subsequent lung cancer diagnosis compared to those with no diseases (HR 2.00 [95% CI 1.70-2.35] p for trend 

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Public Health

Publication Date





Cancer risk, Multi-morbidity, UK Biobank