Differences in physical function across cancer recovery phases: Findings from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey

Ickpyo Hong, Kimberly Hreha, Maria Chang Swartz, Monique R. Pappadis, Kyungtae Yoo, Mansoo Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Recent cancer survivors (<2 years post-diagnosis) report poorer general health and physical weakness compared to long-term cancer survivors (≥2 years post-diagnosis), but differences in functional limitations are unknown. It is unclear which daily tasks are more difficult for recent versus long-term survivors. We aimed to examine differences in functional performances across cancer recovery phases as potential targets for functional impairment screening. Method: The cohort consisted of adults with a cancer history in the 2015 National Health Interview Survey (n = 2372). Multivariate logistic regression models were used to estimate the odds of having difficulty in health-related outcomes across the cancer recovery phases (recent versus long-term). Results: Most subjects were long-term survivors (84.9%). Recent survivors were more likely to have difficulty in work, mobility-related daily tasks and social participation compared to long-term survivors. No differences were found in basic activities of daily living, cognition and emotional functioning between the groups. Conclusion: While recent cancer survivors were independent in basic daily tasks, they had difficulties in performing daily tasks that required a high level of physical function. Clinicians, especially occupational therapists, should prioritize evaluating physical functioning to guide intervention planning for recent cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Cancer survivors
  • health surveys
  • occupational therapy
  • physical functional performance
  • retrospective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Occupational Therapy

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