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J Gerontol. 1990 Jan;45(1):M3-11.

Difficulties in physical functioning reported by middle-aged and elderly women with breast cancer: a case-control comparison.

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  • 1School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.


Levels of physical functioning reported by women aged 55 to 84 with incident breast cancer were compared to those reported by women of the same age without the disease. A total of 422 breast cancer patients, identified through the Metropolitan Detroit Cancer Surveillance System, were interviewed 3 and 12 months after diagnosis. Interviews with 478 controls of the same age, identified through telephone random-digit dialing, were conducted twice during the same time period. At 3 months, patients aged 55-64 and 65-74 reported greater difficulty than controls in completing tasks requiring upper-body strength. Little difference was shown between cases and controls aged 75 to 84. After one year, patients aged 65-74 still reported higher than expected levels of difficulty in light lifting as well as pushing and lifting heavy objects. Among cases aged 55-64, only pushing and lifting heavy objects remained problematic. Estimates of the prevalence of physical difficulty will be useful in planning future breast cancer treatment and rehabilitation services.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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