, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 399-405

Quality of life of women treated with radiotherapy for breast cancer

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Abstract

Goals of work

Radiotherapy is routinely used in the treatment of early breast cancer, particularly in women who have undergone lumpectomy. Its impact on the quality of life of patients is important and is taken into consideration when making informed choices about treatment from both a patient’s and health professional’s point of view. This study reports on the quality of life of women at baseline, the completion of radiotherapy and 7 months after the completion of radiotherapy.

Materials and methods

European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C-30 and BR-23 questionnaires were used to evaluate quality of life of 61 women treated with radiotherapy for breast cancer. Additionally, demographic and treatment variables were analysed in relation to quality of life outcomes to determine if there were any significant predictors of quality of life.

Main results

There was no difference in quality of life of women at baseline, completion and 7 months after completion of radiotherapy. Fatigue and breast symptoms increased during radiotherapy but returned to baseline levels at 7 months. Fatigue was the strongest predictor of poor quality of life in women after radiotherapy.

Conclusion

Women retain a high quality of life and return to baseline function by 7 months after radiotherapy. Treatment may best be targeted to alleviate fatigue and breast symptoms during radiotherapy.