Are Cancer Survivors/Patients Knowledgeable About Osteoporosis? Results from a Survey of 285 Chemotherapy-treated Cancer Patients and Their Companions

Heidi McKean, Sherry Looker, Lynn C. Hartmann, Suzanne R. Hayman, Judith S. Kaur, Robert R. McWilliams, Prema P. Peethambaram, Jean F. Stahl, Aminah Jatoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Objective: This study assessed osteoporosis knowledge deficits among cancer patients and their spouses/partners. Design: Single-institution survey (modified version of the Osteoporosis Knowledge Assessment Tool). Setting: The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Participants: Consecutive chemotherapy-treated cancer patients (n = 285) with their spouses/partners (n = 101). Outcome Measures: The main outcome was the percentage of cancer patients who incorrectly conveyed that 1) cancer treatment strengthens bones (or did not know) and/or 2) male cancer patients are not at risk for osteoporosis (or did not know). Analyses: Test scores and 95% confidence intervals (CI) as well as the correlation between patient and spouse/partner scores, are reported. Results: 39% of patients (95% CI, 32% - 48%) thought cancer treatment strengthened bones or did not know, and 39% (95% CI, 32% - 48%) either answered that osteoporosis almost never occurred in men or did not know. The mean correct score on the modified Osteoporosis Knowledge Assessment Tool was 6.7 (95% CI, 6.7, 7.9), and scores from patients correlated with companion scores (r = 0.42; P < .001). Conclusions and Implications: Chemotherapy-treated cancer patients and their companions have knowledge deficits concerning osteoporosis. Educational initiatives to increase awareness may be of value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-148
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2008



  • awareness
  • cancer
  • fracture
  • knowledge
  • osteoporosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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