Ending treatment: the course of emotional adjustment and quality of life among breast cancer survivors immediately following radiation therapy
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- Cite this article as:
- Deshields, T., Tibbs, T., Fan, MY. et al. Support Care Cancer (2005) 13: 1018. doi:10.1007/s00520-005-0801-z
Goal of work
This study investigated changes in psychological adjustment and quality of life among breast cancer patients following completion of radiation therapy.
Patients and methods
Ninety-four patients completed measures of depressed mood, anxiety, and quality of life via interview at five time points: the end of radiation therapy, 2 weeks posttreatment, the first radiation oncology follow-up appointment (4–6 weeks after treatment), 3 months posttreatment, and 6 months posttreatment.
At the conclusion of radiation treatment, participants reported elevated levels of depression, low levels of anxiety, and diminished quality of life. By 2 weeks posttreatment, depression decreased significantly and overall quality of life improved significantly, as well as quality of life in the specific FACT-B domains of Physical and Functional Well Being and the Breast Cancer Subscale. Following that time, the only significant change involved further improvement in breast-cancer-specific concerns.
Results suggest that the primary psychological changes associated with ending breast cancer treatment occur quickly following the conclusion of treatment. Thereafter, psychological status appears to stabilize. The implications of these findings for treatment and directions for future research are discussed.