(HealthDay News) — From 1999 to 2018, there was a more than 2-fold increase in the number of cancer survivors reporting functional limitations, according to a research letter published in JAMA Oncology.

Researchers examined 20-year trends in prevalence of self-reported functional limitations among US cancer survivors using data from the National Health Interview Survey. A total of 51,258 cancer survivors were identified, representing a weighted population of about 178.8 million.

The researchers found that, in 1999, 3.6 million weighted survivors reported functional limitations. This increased 2.25-fold to 8.2 million in 2018.

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From 1999 to 2018, the number of limitation-free survivors increased 1.34-fold. During the same period, the number of cancer-free individuals with functional limitations increased 1.6-fold.

From 1999 to 2018, the adjusted prevalence of functional limitations among cancer survivors increased from 57.0% to 70.1%. The greatest change was seen for Hispanic and Black survivors (25.1% and 19.4%, respectively) and for those aged 55 to 64 years (17.2%).

The adjusted prevalence of functional limitations was highest among survivors of pancreatic cancer (80.3%) and lung cancer (76.5%) and lowest among survivors of melanoma (62.2%), breast cancer (61.8%), and prostate cancer (59.5%).

“Our findings suggest an urgent need for care teams to understand and address function, for researchers to evaluate function as a core outcome in trials, and for health systems and policy makers to reimagine survivorship care, recognizing the burden of cancer and its treatment on physical, psychosocial, and cognitive function,” the researchers wrote.

One researcher disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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