Do older individuals who are diagnosed with cancer have worse physical performance prior to diagnosis compared to matched controls? A longitudinal cohort study: A longitudinal cohort study

S. M. L. M. Looijaard, M. S. Slee-Valentijn, L. N. Groeneveldt, D. J. H. Deeg, M. Huisman, A. B. Maier

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Impaired physical performance is highly prevalent in older cancer patients and is associated with cancer-related outcomes such as mortality and chemotherapy-related toxicity. Physical performance might already decline prior to the cancer diagnosis due to undiagnosed disease. This study aimed to assess whether the physical performance of community-dwelling individuals prior to cancer diagnosis is worse compared to matched controls who are not diagnosed with cancer. Methods: The study sample was selected from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, a longitudinal study on a nationally representative sample of the Dutch older population. Physical performance of initially cancer-free individuals aged 55-84 years who were diagnosed with cancer during 10 or 20 years of follow-up was compared to the physical performance of controls who were not diagnosed with cancer. For controls, the physical performance measurements of the cycle with a median age closest to the cancer group were used. The time interval between physical performance measurements and the report of cancer was 2 to 4 years. Groups were compared using logistic and linear regression analysis. Results: The study sample included 1735 individuals with a median age of 68.7 [interquartile range 63.3-76.4] years. During follow-up, 414 (23.9%) individuals were diagnosed with cancer. Handgrip strength, gait speed, chair stand ability, chair stand test time and ability to put on and take off a cardigan did not differ between groups. Individuals prior to cancer diagnosis were more likely to complete the tandem balance test. Conclusions: Physical performance of individuals 2 to 4 years prior to report of cancer diagnosis is not lower compared to controls. This suggests that physical performance may not be influenced by cancer before diagnosis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number166
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBMC geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2018


  • Aged
  • Cancer
  • Geriatrics
  • Neoplasms
  • Older
  • Oncology
  • Physical performance

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