Aerobic endurance predicts falls-risk exposure more than lower body strength
In female breast cancer patients above the age of 75, exposures to falls-risk depend much more on aerobic endurance than on overall strength of the lower body, a new study shows.
The study included 102 breast cancer patients (mean age 70.2 years) female receiving treatment. For inclusion, patients had to be >65 years of age and have received surgical intervention without reconstructive surgery.
Participants were categorized into three groups according to age: 65 to 69 (n=50), 70 to 74 (n=31) and 75 to 79 (n=21) years. Self-reported falls were determined through a questionnaire. Appropriate tests were used to assess gait and balance disorders, gait speed, dynamic balance, individual agility and gait.
All participants, regardless of group, showed a significant deficit in lower body strength and individual aerobic endurance compared to reference values. Women in the oldest group seemed to have the largest deficit.
In all subgroups, age had a significant effect on gait speed (p<0.05). There was a significant association between risk of falls and gait speed (p<0.05). A higher gait speed reduced this risk.
Furthermore, participants were classified according to their propensity for accidental falls based on the Tinetti POMA test results. In subgroups 2 and 3, where patients are aged >70 years, 13 and 14 percent were classified into the high-risk group, respectively.
Finally, lower body strength was associated with the individual risk of fall in patients below the age of 75 (group 1: p<0.0001; group 2: p=0.0001). On the other hand, aerobic endurance was associated with risk of falls only in patients aged>75 years (p=0.0250).
The findings show that rehabilitation after surgical interventions for cancer is a complex issue.