Patient-reported toxicities help to appraise the breast cancer treatment experience. Yet extant data come from clinical trials and health care claims, which may be biased. Using patient surveys, the authors sought to quantify the frequency, severity, and burden of treatment-associated toxicities.METHODS:
Between 2013 and 2014, the iCanCare study surveyed a population-based sample of women residing in Los Angeles County and Georgia with early-stage, invasive breast cancer. The authors assessed the frequency and severity of toxicities; correlated toxicity severity with unscheduled health care use (clinic visits, emergency department visits/hospitalizations) and physical health; and examined patient, tumor, and treatment factors associated with reporting increased toxicity severity.RESULTS:
The overall survey response rate was 71%. From the analyzed cohort of 1945 women, 866 (45%) reported at least 1 toxicity that was severe/very severe, 9% reported unscheduled clinic visits for toxicity management, and 5% visited an emergency department or hospital. Factors associated with reporting higher toxicity severity included receipt of chemotherapy (odds ratio [OR], 2.2; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 2.0-2.5), receipt of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.0-1.7), and Latina ethnicity (OR vs whites: 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1-1.5). A nonsignificant increase in at least 1 severe/very severe toxicity report was observed for bilateral mastectomy recipients (OR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.0-1.4).CONCLUSIONS:
Women with early-stage invasive breast cancer report substantial treatment-associated toxicities and related burden. Clinicians should collect toxicity data routinely and offer early intervention. Toxicity differences observed by treatment modality may inform decision making.
The results of the current study from a diverse, population-based sample indicate that nearly one-half of women treated for early-stage breast cancer experienced at least 1 toxicity that they rated as severe/very severe during treatment, with variations observed by treatment modality. Toxicities appear to correlate with physical function and increased health care service use.