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Frailty in Cancer Patients, Young and Old, is Linked to Inflammation

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Did you know that "frailty" is a medical condition? Characterized by weakness, fatigue, weight loss, and slow walking speed, it's associated with cancer and its treatments. Scientists are studying the factors that lead to frailty and how to prevent it — because it can impact quality of life and how a person of any age endures disease.

For women with breast cancer, frailty is linked to inflammation levels in the blood, according to a Wilmot Cancer Institute investigation. Higher inflammation prior to chemo therapy can predict frailty after chemotherapy ends.

"Our findings confirm that oncologists should consider inflammation and frailty in their patients, and perhaps personalize treatment, especially in older adults, to avoid undue risks of chemotherapy toxicity," said Nikesha Gilmore, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who conducts studies for Wilmot's Cancer Prevention and Control program.

Gilmore is first author of the study, recently published in the journal, Breast Cancer Research, which includes a novel finding that when inflammation markers continue to rise during chemotherapy, frailty is even more likely to be a problem after treatment.

Read More: Frailty in Cancer Patients, Young and Old, is Linked to Inflammation