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  • Writer's pictureWomen's Cancer Research Foundation

Aging Cancer Survivors Have Greater Functional Decline

Elderly adults who survive cancer may exhibit rapidly functioning skills compared to non-cancer patients. In a 2021 study involving 1728 adults (359 cancer survivors and 1,369 individuals without a history of cancer), aged 22 to 100 years, subjects were evaluated for their grip strength, gait (walking) speed, and overall physical performance from 2006 until 2019. The cancer survivors were significantly more likely to have weaker grip strength and their mean physical performance scores on the Health, Aging and Body Composition physical performance battery were lower.

Cancer survivors over 65 years old were significantly more likely to have slower gait speed.

Also, the cancer survivors over 65 years old were significantly more likely to have slower gait speed. These findings suggest that following a cancer diagnosis and treatment, patients may be at increased risk for accelerated functional decline. Therefore, in endeavoring to prevent, mitigate, or reverse the adverse aging-related effects, it is imperative to identify which cancer survivors are at greatest risk and when this accelerated decline in physical functioning is likely to manifest itself.

About Women’s Cancer Research Foundation The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is one of Southern California’s and the nation’s most active research organizations for female cancers. We are dedicated to serving the interests of patients, families, and friends affected by women’s cancers. WCRF partners with physician-scientists nationally to make differences in women’s lives by offering hope, strength, and progress.

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