Elsevier Logo Chemotherapy and endocrine therapy though effective in treating breast cancer, pave way for future health risks or at least the following article suggests so. In a major breakthrough, scientists from the Oregon Health and Science University Knight Cancer Institute, Portland found that the combined effects of chemotherapy and endocrine therapy elevate the chances of bone fractures in breast cancer survivors. It was pointed out that women who have survived breast cancer allegedly fall more than their peers.

While conducting the study, post-menopausal breast cancer survivors were asked whether they had fallen in the past year and then tracked their falls over a six-month study period. It then appeared that breast cancer survivors may be under a major threat of falls. Around 58 percent breast cancer survivors reportedly experienced a fall in the previous year. Half of the study subjects forming 47 percent fell within 6 months after joining the study. Community-dwelling older adults over 65 years of age registered a rise in annual fall rate from 25 percent to 30 percent.

“Our study is the first to consider how breast cancer treatment may increase fall risk by using a comprehensive set of objective measures of fall risk and by exploring mediators of the treatment-falls relationship,” said Kerri M. Winters-Stone, PhD, Associate Professor and Associate Scientist, Oregon Health and Science University, School of Nursing and a member of the Knight Cancer Institute. “Our findings suggest that recently treated postmenopausal breast cancer survivors have higher rates of falling compared with population averages for community-dwelling older adults. Balance disturbances may explain how treatment could have contributed to falls in breast cancer survivors.”

Scientists measured a comprehensive set of neuromuscular and balance characteristics that were possibly related to falls in 59 study participants. It was noted that only balance problems are supposedly linked with alterations within the vestibular system that is further associated with chemotherapy treatment. It was concluded that breast cancer survivors have increased fall risk because vestibular function presumably underpins correlation between breast cancer treatment and falls.

The study will be published in the April issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation