Study: Older, African-American breast cancer patients often struggle with daily functioning

Day-to-day activities, such as bathing, dressing and managing finances, can present significant challenges to older breast cancer patients. Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have found that African Americans disproportionately experience functional disability or need assistance with daily activities.

Using data from 190 women who were 65 years or older when diagnosed with breast cancer, the researchers found that 39 percent experienced some degree of functional disability, and that the African American women were four times more likely than non-Hispanic White women to struggle with functioning.

In a press release, lead author Dr. Cynthia Owusu noted the need to identify and address functional disability to improve overall survival outcomes. 

The study, “Racial disparities in functional disability among older women with newly diagnosed nonmetastatic breast cancer,” was published online this week in the journal Cancer.

Did you know that Polaris Oncology screens for whether cancer patients are concerned about or struggling with daily functioning and then automatically refers patients to the additional supports and resources they need? Learn more.