Introduction Patients with gynecologic cancers are living longer after diagnosis, but the consequences of aggressive treatments may render them susceptible to future health concerns. The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a large population-based cohort of >50,000 individuals between the ages of 45–85 and provides a distinct opportunity to evaluate the impact of psychosocial and functional factors on health outcomes. We sought to examine the prevalence and impact of frailty among community-dwelling older individuals with a history of gynecologic cancer.
Methods We performed a cross-sectional analysis of CLSA participants who self-identified as female. Frailty was operationalized using the deficit accumulation model (where frailty is defined as frailty index (FI) > 0.21). Associations were evaluated using multivariate regression analyses, adjusting for sociodemographic, lifestyle and social support factors.
Results Datapoints to measure frailty were available for 15,149 of 15,320 (98.8%) female participants. The prevalence of frailty was 19.9% in those with a history of gynecologic cancer compared to 9.1% in those without (p<0.001; OR 2.2, 95%CI 1.6–2.9). Gynecologic cancer survivors classified as frail were more likely to require assistance from family members (OR 3.4, 95%CI 2.0–5.7) and professional community supports (OR 7.9, 95%CI 4.2–15.0) than those who were not frail.
Conclusion/Implications In this large national prospective cohort study, frailty was found to affect approximately 20% of gynecologic cancer survivors. Further studies are required to evaluate the impact of frailty on oncologic outcomes and to elucidate strategies for early recognition and risk mitigation of frailty.
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