Skeletal Muscle Mass Loss During Cancer Treatment: Differences by Race and Cancer Site

Min K. Jang

Chang G. Park

Susan Hong

Deepika Laddu

Hongjin Li

Esther Rhee

Ardith Z. Doorenbos

oncology, muscle mass, rectal cancer, race, non-Hispanic Blacks
ONF 2020, 47(5), 557-566. DOI: 10.1188/20.ONF.557-566

Objectives: To examine skeletal muscle mass change in a racially diverse sample of patients undergoing cancer treatment, determine significant predictors of muscle mass loss, and explore the interaction of race and cancer site.

Sample & Setting: A retrospective analysis was conducted for 212 patients seeking treatment at a university hospital clinic.

Methods & Variables: Skeletal muscle mass index (SMI) was determined by computed tomography at the time of cancer diagnosis and with cancer treatment.

Results: One hundred thirty-four patients (63%) had SMI loss with cancer treatment. Race and cancer site were found to be significant predictors of SMI loss. Compared to other racial groups, non-Hispanic Black (NHB) patients had the greatest SMI loss (p < 0.001) with cancer treatment. NHB patients with rectal cancer experienced the greatest SMI loss compared to patients of other races and cancer types.

Implications for Nursing: To improve survivorship care for patients with cancer, it is essential to develop strategies for assessing and managing skeletal muscle mass loss throughout treatment, particularly for NHB patients with rectal cancer.

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