Arch Hellen Med, 35(2), March-April 2018, 207-219
Correlation of medical and demographic factors with quality of life in women with breast cancer
Α. Palaiogiannidou,1 S. Triadafyllidou,1 F. Anagnostopoulos,1,2 D. Paliouras1
OBJECTIVE Investigation of factors that may influence the quality of life (QoL) of women with breast cancer, including demographic characteristics, time since diagnosis and type of treatment, with a view to providing optimal health care.
METHOD The study was conducted at the "Elena Venizelou" General Hospital, with a sample of 199 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and were under systemic therapy, or had already completed treatment and were being monitored in the Pathological Oncology Clinic. Τhe QoL of the participants was assessed with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer questionnaires QLQ-C30 and QLQ-BR23. Data analysis was conducted using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 21.0.
RESULTS The mean scores on the overall QoL and the individual functional scales indicated fairly good QoL, with the highest scores being recorded on the physical functioning and body image scales, and the lowest scores on the sexual functioning and enjoyment, emotional functioning and future perspective scales. The stage of the disease and the time that had elapsed since the initial diagnosis did not appear to influence the QoL significantly. The type of treatment was correlated with QoL, and patients who underwent chemotherapy reported the lowest levels in most of the dimensions that were assessed. Negative correlation was observed between total mastectomy and overall QoL, and the domains of body image and physical and emotional functioning. Patients who had completed treatment reported significantly better levels of QoL in various domains, but this improvement was related mainly to symptom reduction and not to other dimensions of QoL, such as emotional and sexual functioning. Among the demographic characteristics, only age and educational level were found to be associated with QoL, with younger patients and those with a higer educational level reporting a better level of overall QoL.
CONCLUSIONS The psychosocial needs of patients with breast cancer, and their variation depending on the type of treatment they receive, along with the particular difficulties they anticipate, should be taken into consideration when designing their treatment. Assessment of the QoL of patients with breast cancer can enrich professional insight into the way in which patients experience the disease, thus contributing to health care improvement.
Key words: Breast cancer, Chemotherapy, Mastectomy, Quality of life, Sexual functioning.