Quality of Life in Women With Breast Cancer Treated With or Without Chemotherapy

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Abstract

Background:

The diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer may negatively affect the quality of life (QOL) of women.

Objectives:

The aim of this study is to assess QOL in women with breast cancer who were treated with or without chemotherapy and to identify factors associated with improved or worsening QOL in these women.

Methods:

This cross-sectional study enrolled 112 women who were treated with chemotherapy (CTX group, with 85 [75.9%] women) or without chemotherapy (non-CTX group, with 27 [24.1%] women) for breast cancer. The Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) assessed QOL and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale assessed anxiety and depression.

Results:

The overall mean SF-36 score was below 50 in all domains. Relative to CTX women, non-CTX women were significantly older (P = .001) and more likely to engage in physical exercise (P = .002). The non-CTX group had higher scores in the Physical Functioning (P = .001) and Role-Physical (P = .0009) domains of the SF-36 relative to the CTX group, and the fluoruracil + epirubicin + cyclophosphamide group had significantly lower scores in the SF-36 domains Physical Functioning (P = .009) and Role-Physical (P = .02).

Conclusion:

Chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer worsens QOL in the Physical Functioning and the Role-Physical domains of the SF-36 relative to women treated without chemotherapy.

Implications for Practice:

Nurses should assess Physical Functioning and the Role-Physical before treatment, as a woman who was not physically active before breast cancer is not likely to become physically active after treatment. Establishing support groups and providing educational sessions about the disease and its management, supportive care can improve the QOL of this population.

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