Fear of falling in community-dwelling older adults diagnosed with cancer: A report from the International Mobility in Aging Study (IMIAS)

J Geriatr Oncol. 2020 May;11(4):603-609. doi: 10.1016/j.jgo.2019.09.001. Epub 2019 Oct 22.


Background: The incidence of fear of falling (FOF) is high among people with cancer. However, factors that are associated with FOF in people with cancer has not yet been investigated. Therefore, the objective of this study was to identify the associated factors with FOF in people with cancer.

Method: This is a secondary analysis of the International Mobility in Aging Study (IMIAS) study. A total of 175 people self-identified as patients with cancer (mean age: 69.3 years, women: 50.2%) and 177 healthy age-matched group. FOF measured using the Falls Efficacy Scale-International (FES-I) was the primary outcome. Potential variables/factors for consistency known to be associated with FOF (cognitive status, depression, physical performance, the number of falls in the last year, visual acuity and grip strength) were assessed. Simple linear regression was used to identify factors associated with FOF. Variables with p-value <0.05 were then included in a multiple linear regression adjusted for the study confounders (study site, sex, and age).

Results: For people with cancer, FES-I was significantly associated with the Leganes Cognitive Test, The Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) total scores and the number of falls reported in the past 12 months (P-value <0.05). For the healthy group, FOF was only associated with depression and SPPEB.

Conclusion: FOF is multifactorial in people with cancer and it is associated with cognitive status, physical performance and number of falls in the last year. Healthcare providers for patients with cancer should evaluate all potential factors associated with FOF and manage it.

Keywords: Fear of falling; People with cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Neoplasms*