Can a simple handshake predict cancer survival rates?

February 26, 2014

New acquaintances are often judged by their handshake. Research has now recognized the simple squeeze as an important diagnostic tool in assessing strength and quality of life among critical care patients.

In a study published in the journal, Support Care Cancer, Concordia professor Robert Kilgour and his colleagues at the McGill Nutrition and Performance Laboratory confirmed a link between handgrip strength and survival rates.

The test was simple: 203 patients fighting advanced-stage cancers squeezed a device known as a dynamometer with their . The instrument then measured peak .

Because it requires minimal equipment, this method of evaluation is both portable and practical, says Kilgour: "This measure is one of several to categorize patients according to the severity of their disease. It can help determine interventions they may need, whether clinical, nutritional or functional."

While other diagnostic tests rely on a patient's self-reporting or examine related factors such as decreased body weight,the handgrip test directly focuses on body strength.

Its precision allows doctors to better assess a patient's decline.

Clinicians typically classify patients by percentiles; those in the bottom 10th percentile are in the most serious condition, while those in the 25th are somewhat stronger. In most cases, slowing a patient's decline and maintaining a decent quality of life can be a significant accomplishment.

Kilgour and his colleagues believe the grip test may help all categories of patients, especially those in the 25th percentile. At this stage, even modest interventions, like starting exercise or a diet change, can yield results, boosting both the physical and mental health of patients.

Explore further: Heavy lifting for cancer research

Related Stories

Heavy lifting for cancer research

February 9, 2012
Many patients with advanced cancer suffer from cachexia, a condition also called body-wasting or wasting syndrome, which causes significant weight loss, extreme fatigue and reduces quality of life.

Gaps exist in patient-centered quality of CRC care at VA

February 8, 2014
(HealthDay)—Patient-reported quality assessment measures reveal substantial gaps in patient-centered quality of colorectal cancer care, according to a study published online Feb 3 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Perceived discrimination and mistrust in health care lowers patients' quality of life

November 9, 2013
Perceived discrimination and mistrust in health care can negatively affect patients' quality of life, according to a study that will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2013 November 5-10 at the Georgia World Congress Center ...

Exercise can improve the health and wellbeing of cancer patients

January 31, 2012
Exercise can improve the health of cancer patients who have completed their main cancer-related treatment finds a study published in the British Medical Journal.

Simple protein test could improve prediction of survival rates for patients with head and neck cancer

January 24, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists from The University of Manchester – part of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre - used a simple protein test that could prove more useful in predicting survival chances for patients with ...

Recommended for you

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

Novel CRISPR-Cas9 screening enables discovery of new targets to aid cancer immunotherapy

July 19, 2017
A novel screening method developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center—using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to test the function of thousands of tumor genes in mice—has ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.