Circumstances around falls in older adults with Cancer

Ursulina Tomczak, Schroder Sattar, Kelly L. Schoenbeck, Theresa Cordner, Tanya M. Wildes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: Falls are increasingly worrisome to older adults with cancer due to the side effects of cancer and its treatments. Understanding the circumstances of falls is important in the development of fall prevention strategies. The aim of this study is to understand the circumstances of falls in older patients with cancer. Materials and Methods: This study is a secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study in which adults aged ≥65 years with cancer receiving systemic cancer therapy were followed for fall outcomes for six months. Falls were assessed by monthly fall calendars; 51 participants who reported a fall were interviewed regarding the fall. Results: The cohort had an average age of 72.2 ± 5.2 years; 37% were female and 90% were white. Half (25/51) had experienced falls in the six months prior to enrollment. During the follow-up period, 78 falls occurred in 51 individuals over 6 months: 36 patients had 1 fall, 9 patients had 2 falls, 3 had 3 falls, and 1 each had 4, 5, or 6 falls. Nearly half of falls (51%) took place in the home and 38 (49%) occurred outside of the home. Conclusions: Falls occurred at similar rates both inside the home and outside the home, indicating that familiarity with the person's surroundings does not protect against falls. Symptoms of cancer treatments were not mentioned during fall assessment, which may indicate a need for more awareness of the side effects of cancer medications and future developments of fall prevention methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-95
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Geriatric Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Accidental falls
  • Cancer
  • Elderly


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