The prevalence of disability among people with cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and/or diabetes: a systematic review

Karolina Lisy, Jared M. Campbell, Catalin Tufanaru, Sandeep Moola, Craig Lockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease are noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) that cause extensive social and economic burden worldwide, particularly in low-income and middle-income countries. There is growing recognition of the importance of the disabilities that individuals experience as a consequence of these NCDs. Objectives: This systematic review examined the prevalence of disabilities associated with cancer, CVD, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, Web of Science, PsycINFO, CIRRIE, WHO database, LILACS and AIM. Studies were included if their samples were representative of people with at least one of these four conditions and if prevalence estimates of disability were provided. As random sampling was not feasible in the majority of cases, studies were included where they offered evidence that their sample was representative of the general population being investigated. Results: A total of 105 articles were included in the review. Most studies were conducted in high-income countries. The prevalence of difficulties with activities of daily living (i.e. eating, bathing, dressing) was reported to be 10.4-34.5% amongst cancer survivors, 21.1-64.1% in those with CVD, 7.4-49.8% in those with chronic respiratory disease and 12.2-54.5% for those with diabetes. The prevalence of a range of other physical, cognitive and psychological impairments (systemic or structural) was additionally described for each disease. Conclusion: Substantial proportions of people with cancer, CVD, chronic respiratory disease or diabetes experience some form of disability - although there was great variance in prevalence and definitions. The findings of this review support the evidence base of global impact associated with NCD, indicate frequency measures for specific disabilities and inabilities associated with each NCD and provide direction for future systematic reviews.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-166
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Evidence-Based Healthcare
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer
  • cardiovascular disease
  • chronic respiratory disease
  • diabetes
  • disability


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