Cancer Survivors Often Have a Limitation

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24 (UPI) — Breast cancer survivors often have a functional limitation, which doesn’t hurt their cancer survival, but increases their risk of dying, researchers say.

Dejana Braithwaite of the University of California, San Francisco, says breast cancer survivors with functional limitations affecting motion, strength and dexterity do not have an increased risk of dying from breast cancer, but they do have an increased risk of dying from other causes.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, finds 39 percent of the participants reported at least one limitation following initial treatment. The study also finds breast cancer survivors with functional limitations that affect motion, strength, and dexterity are at the same risk of dying from a recurrence of breast cancer as physically fit survivors but are more likely to die from other causes.

“The pattern of the relationships between functional limitations and survival supports the view that functional limitations have prognostic value for breast cancer independently of known prognostic factors, including co-morbidity,” Braithwaite says in a statement.

Women with functional limitations can have poorer treatment tolerance because they are more likely to be older, less physically active, overweight or obese, Braithwaite says.

Braithwaite and colleagues studied 2,202 women with breast cancer in the Life After Cancer Epidemiology cohort, who were followed for up to 11 years after diagnosis. They looked at the impact of functional limitations on survival as a function of age, body mass index, tumor stage and other lifestyle characteristics.

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