Breast cancer and chemo linked to increased falls in older women
Mar 29, 2011
New research at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) has linked older breast cancer survivors with increased chances of falling and sustaining broken bones, according to Health Day News.
The relationship may be due to changes in the body's vestibular system as a result of chemotherapy treatment.
The vestibular system is located in the inner ear, and responsible for maintaining balance, rotation and spatial coordination, according to Washington University in St. Louis.
"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," said Kerri M. Winters-Stone, associate professor and associate scientist at OHSU School of Nursing.
Published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the study looked at 59 post-menopausal breast cancer patients and found that the fall rate was about 50 percent for breast cancer survivors, compared to the average 25 to 30 percent for adults over 65 years old.
Women over the age of 40 are encouraged by the American Cancer Society to receive annual mammograms, in order to detect and treat breast cancer at the earliest stages possible.