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Prevalence and Cancer-Specific Patterns of Functional Disability Among US Cancer Survivors, 2017-2022.

PURPOSE: To examine the prevalence and cancer-specific patterns of functional disabilities among US cancer survivors.

METHODS: Data from 47,768 cancer survivors and 2,432,754 noncancer adults age 18 years and older from the 2017 to 2022 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System were analyzed. Functional disabilities assessed included mobility disability (ie, serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs) and self-care disability (ie, self-reported difficulty dressing or bathing). Multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess the associations between functional disabilities and sociodemographic, lifestyle, and health-related factors.

RESULTS: Cancer survivors tended to be older and non-Hispanic White than noncancer adults. The prevalence of mobility disability (27.9% v 13.4%) and self-care disability (7.4% v 3.8%) were higher among cancer survivors compared with noncancer adults. After multivariable adjustments, cancer survivors were more likely to report mobility (odds ratio [OR], 1.21 [95% CI, 1.16 to 1.26]) and self-care (OR, 1.19 [95% CI, 1.10 to 1.29]) disability than noncancer adults. The prevalence of mobility (34.9% v 26.3%) and self-care disability (9.8% v 6.7%) was higher in cancer survivors who were receiving active cancer treatment than in those who had completed cancer treatment. Higher prevalence of mobility and self-care disabilities was observed in cancer survivors who were racial/ethnic minorities and with higher BMI, low physical activity, lower levels of education and/or income, comorbidities, and those experiencing cancer/treatment-related pain. Patterns of mobility and self-care disabilities varied across cancer types.

CONCLUSION: Over a quarter of US cancer survivors reported mobility disability, and nearly 10% reported self-care disability, with patterns varying across cancer types and treatment status. Racial/ethnic minorities, along with underserved groups and individuals with unhealthy lifestyles or comorbidities, were notably more affected by functional disabilities, underscoring the need for targeted disability prevention efforts.

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