Chemo May Raise Risk of Falls in Breast Cancer
FRIDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) -- Breast cancer survivors may
be at increased risk for falls and broken bones due to the combined
effects of chemotherapy and endocrine therapy, a new study
Researchers looked at 59 postmenopausal breast cancer survivors,
and found that 58 percent of them had experienced a fall in the
year before the start of the study and 47 percent had a fall during
the six-month study period.
Those rates are much higher than the 25 percent to 30 percent
annual fall rate reported for community-dwelling adults over 65
years old, noted Kerri M. Winters-Stone, an associate professor and
associate scientist at Oregon Health & Science University
(OHSU) School of Nursing, and colleagues.
Balance was the only difference between breast cancer survivors
who fell and those who did not. The researchers said their findings
also suggest that balance problems may be due to
chemotherapy-related changes in the vestibular system, which is
involved in balance and spatial orientation.
The study is scheduled for publication in the April issue of the
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
"Falls in breast cancer survivors are understudied and deserve more attention, particularly in light of the increase in fractures after breast cancer treatment and the relationship of falls to fractures," Winters-Stone, who is also a member of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute in Portland, said in a journal news release.
"Our findings add to growing evidence that fall risk is increased in breast cancer survivors and that vestibular function may underpin associations between breast cancer treatment and falls," she added.
Learn more about balance from
the Vestibular Disorders Association.
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