Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Kinesiology and Recreation

First Advisor

Kelly Laurson


Cachexia, or a loss of muscle mass, has been identified as a potential indicator of cancer survival rates. Previous explorations in research have connected muscular strength to muscle loss and cancer survivorship, but nationally generalizable findings are limited. PURPOSE: To investigate handgrip strength in cancer survivors using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative sample of US adults. METHODS: The analysis included 368 males and 425 females from the 2011-2014 NHANES dataset. Cancer survivor information (type of cancer and age of diagnosis) was determined by questionnaire. Cancer types were grouped into the following: skin cancers, reproductive cancers, other cancers (digestive, nervous, respiratory, musculoskeletal, renal, and endocrine), and multiple or other cancers. Muscular strength was assessed using a handgrip dynamometer and expressed as relative grip strength z-scores. Low grip strength was categorized as < 33rd percentile and sufficient strength was defined as relative grip strength at or above the 33rd percentile. Logistic regression was used to estimate the odds of low relative grip-strength by cancer group and years from diagnosis, along with the following covariates: age, sex, minority status, social economic status (SES), body mass index (BMI), and physical activity (PA). A general linear model was also used to compare the effects of the previously mentioned cancer variables and covariates on continuous relative grip-strength z-scores. All analyses accounted for NHANES complex sampling, strata, weight, and clustering of data. RESULTS: In relation to relative grip strength, the cancer groups nor the years since diagnosis had a statistically significant impact on relative strength. Low relative grip strength was found only to be correlated with BMI (p<0.001) and PA (p=0.021). CONCLUSION: Cancer type and time since diagnosed with cancer were not found to be predictive of low relative grip strength. Other covariates, such as BMI and PA, were better predictors of low strength in cancer survivors. These results bring forth the importance of longitudinal analyses that look at strength before, during, and after a cancer diagnosis, in addition to details about the cancer diagnosis and treatments.


Imported from Kibler_ilstu_0092N_11936.pdf


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