Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 775–783 | Cite as

The fall rate of older community-dwelling cancer patients

  • Martine T. E. PutsEmail author
  • Johanne Monette
  • Veronique Girre
  • Christina Wolfson
  • Michèle Monette
  • Gerald Batist
  • Howard Bergman
Original Article



Little is known about the incidence of falls in cancer patients receiving cancer treatment. The aims were to explore the number of falls older adults report in the 6 months after cancer diagnosis, and if those with a fall were more frail than those who did not fall.


Secondary data analysis of a prospective pilot study that recruited patients aged 65 and older with a new cancer diagnosis. At each interview (baseline, 3- and 6-month follow-up), participants were asked if they had a fall in the previous 3 months. The frailty markers and functional status were obtained at baseline, 3- and 6-month follow-up. Chi-square and t tests were used to compare those who had a fall to those who had no fall. Univariate logistic regression analysis was conducted to explore the association between sociodemographic and health characteristics and reporting a fall.


Seventeen participants (18.7 %) reported one or more falls in the first 6 months after cancer diagnosis. Fifteen participants reported one or more falls in the 3 months prior to the cancer diagnosis. Those who had a fall and those with no fall were not different in terms of health and functioning. None of the sociodemographic and health characteristics including the frailty markers were associated with a fall.


A fall is common in cancer patients. More research is needed to examine the risk factors for a fall in older adults receiving cancer treatment.


Falls Frail elderly Geriatric oncology Cancer Cancer treatment 



We thank all of the participants who gave their time during a very difficult period of their life to participate in our study. In addition, we very much appreciate the support of staff and volunteers of the cancer center.


This work was supported by a post PhD research fellowship of the Canadian Cancer Society/National Cancer Institute of Canada to Dr. M. Puts. The study was supported by the Solidage McGill University/Université de Montreal Research Group on Frailty and Aging and the McGill Dr. Joseph Kaufman Chair in Geriatric Medicine. The funding sources had no involvement in the study.

There was no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martine T. E. Puts
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Johanne Monette
    • 2
    • 3
    • 6
  • Veronique Girre
    • 2
    • 4
  • Christina Wolfson
    • 5
  • Michèle Monette
    • 2
  • Gerald Batist
    • 6
  • Howard Bergman
    • 2
    • 3
    • 6
  1. 1.Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of NursingUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Solidage Research Group on Frailty and AgingJewish General HospitalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Division of Geriatric Medicine, Jewish General HospitalMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Department of Oncology-HematologyCentre Hospitalier DepartementalLa Roche sur YonFrance
  5. 5.Research Institute of the McGill University Health CentreMontrealCanada
  6. 6.Department of Oncology, Segal Cancer Center, Jewish General HospitalMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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