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A perspective on adverse health outcomes after breast cancer treatment in women with spinal cord injury


Aging women face increased risks of both breast cancer and spinal cord injury (SCI). Unique treatment challenges for this population warrant consideration. Despite advances in breast cancer treatments, significant adverse health outcomes continue to occur. Cancer treatments can be detrimental to the quality of life of able-bodied women, but more so for women living with pre-existing SCI. The goal of this Perspective Paper is to inform rehabilitation professionals about the needs of women with SCI treated for breast cancer. Specific objectives were: (1) give an overview of breast cancer treatment-related adverse outcomes that need special attention in women with SCI; and (2) inspire researchers to study the consequences of breast cancer-related health conditions in women with SCI. We identified SCI-specific considerations for undergoing breast cancer surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and endocrine therapy. This paper attempts to raise awareness regarding these issues due to the lack of research attention they have received.

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Author information




BS was responsible for conceiving this Perspectives paper, overseeing the input of topics for the paper and literature review, supervising the writing and editing of the manuscript. AWS and CE conducted the literature review and were the key contributors to the writing of the manuscript. SS assisted with developing the article topic, provided input to content and offered feedback on the literature review and edited manuscript. TS had a role in initiating the project and editing of the manuscript. SH provided input to content, contributed to the writing and editing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Bonita Sawatzky.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Sawatzky, B., Edwards, C.M., Walters-Shumka, A.T. et al. A perspective on adverse health outcomes after breast cancer treatment in women with spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord 59, 700–704 (2021).

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