DOI: 10.3390/healthcare11233069 ISSN: 2227-9032

Walking Speed and Risk of Falling Patients Operated for Selected Malignant Tumors

Anna Latajka, Małgorzata Stefańska, Marek Woźniewski, Iwona Malicka
  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management

Background: A literature review reveals that studies on walking and fall occurrences in the context of cancer have predominantly centered on geriatric patients. Nonetheless, cancer patients of all ages are susceptible to such risks. Both cancer and its treatments contribute to significant risk factors for disturbances in walking and falls, encompassing muscle weakness, impaired balance, reduced proprioception, cognitive impairment, and functional limitations. Aim: to assess walking speed and the risk of falls among patients undergoing surgery for the most common malignancies: breast (BU), lung (P), colorectal (DS), and reproductive organs (G). Material and Methods: An observational study was conducted using a cohort design. A total of 176 individuals participated in the study, including 139 cancer patients, who were divided into four groups: BU (N = 30), P (N = 35), DS (N = 35), and G (N = 39), as well as 37 healthy volunteers in the control group (C, N = 37). All participants underwent an assessment of walking speed using BTS G-WALK® and an evaluation of the number of falls and the risk of falling using a Fall Control Card. Results: There was a significant decrease in walking speed after surgery compared to the time before surgery, from 2.7% in the BU group, through 9.3% in the P group, and 19.2% in the DS group, to 30.0% in the G group. At the same time, for groups G and DS, the average walking speed fell below 1.0 m/s, amounting to 0.84 m/s and 0.97 m/s, respectively, in the measurement after the surgery and 0.95 m/s and 1.0 m/s in the follow-up measurement. Falling occurred in all the groups except for the BU group. The created logistic regression model showed that increasing the walking speed measured after the procedure (study 2) by 1 m/s reduces the risk of falling by approximately 500 times (OR = 0.002). Limitations in daily activity were observed in the follow-up examination (study 3) in 75% of patients. Conclusions: Surgical intervention has an impact on walking speed, and being part of the study group influences the risk of falling. Further research is needed to determine the precise risk of falls in cancer patients.

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