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Older Age, Depression Linked With Frailty in Cancer Survivors

May 27, 2020

Older age, depression, and low mobility are among several various factors associated with physical frailty in older people who survived cancer, according to a study published online in the Journal of Geriatric Oncology. 

Researchers analyzed data for 394 cancer survivors who participated in National Social Health and Aging Project Wave 2. Participants were community-dwelling adults age 50 and older from the United States. A modified 4-point scale based on the frailty phenotypic was used to determine participants’ frailty status. Among the cancer survivors in the analysis, 16.1% were deemed frail, 59.8% were prefrail, and 24% were not frail. 

Increasing age, comorbidities, depression, and low mobility were associated with frailty, according to univariate analyses. Participants who rated their physical health and mental health as good, very good, or excellent were less likely to be frail, according to the study.   

Meanwhile, multivariate analyses showed that age, self-rated physical health, depression, ability to perform activities of daily living, and mobility were associated with frailty. 

“The findings highlight the importance of incorporating geriatric assessment into cancer survivorship to prevent and delay the progression of frailty,” wrote corresponding author Thuy Koll, MD, of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and coauthors. 

Jolynn Tumolo


Koll TT, Semin JN, Brodsky R, et al. Health-related and sociodemographic factors associated with physical frailty among older cancer survivors [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 22]. J Geriatr Oncol. 2020;S1879-4068(19)30333-9. doi:10.1016/j.jgo.2020.04.015

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