Title

Surviving Cancer: A Comparison of 5-year Disease-free Breast Cancer Survivors with Healthy Women

Publication Title

Psycho-Oncology

Publication Date

4-2005

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1002/pon.848

Keywords

surviving cancer, breast cancer, health women

Disciplines

Psychology

Abstract

Women with breast cancer are one of the largest groups of cancer survivors. This research examined whether breast cancer has a long-term impact on quality of life (QOL) by comparing 5-year disease-free survivors to age-matched controls and by comparing women who sustained a recurrence to disease-free survivors. Controls were recruited using the neighborhood control methodology. QOL (physical, emotional, social, and spiritual) was assessed during in-person interviews. There were no differences between disease-free survivors (n=267) and controls (n=187) on many indicators of QOL. However, survivors reported more difficulties with physical functioning, more physical symptoms, and more faith than did controls (all ps < 0.05). Compared to disease-free survivors, survivors with a recurrence (n=37) had a worse QOL on most indices, less positive affect, more general fatigue, and more intrusive and avoidant thoughts (all ps < 0.05). There were no differences between the two groups of survivors on indices of marriage, work experiences, or spirituality. These findings suggest that the QOL of long-term survivors who remain disease-free is comparable to that of women their age with the exception of physical functioning. Women who sustain a recurrence suffer an impaired QOL in some, but not all, domains. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


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