The impact of cancer and quality of life among long-term survivors of breast cancer in Austria
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This study explores the relationship between the perceived impact of cancer among long-term breast cancer survivors, sociodemographic and clinical variables, and mental and physical health-related quality of life outcomes in Austria.
One hundred and fifty-two long-term survivors of breast cancer (on average 13 years after initial diagnosis) completed three mailed surveys, including the Short Form-36 (SF-36), the Impact of Cancer (version 2) to assess the perceived positive and negative aspects of cancer survivorship, and a general sociodemographic and clinical questionnaire. Linear regression models were constructed to determine the effects of the perceived positive and negative impact of cancer on mental and physical health-related quality of life.
Respondents reported a physical health status that centered on population norms for Austria, but scored lower on mental health status. After controlling for age, chemotherapy, exercise, and BMI, the positive impact of cancer was associated with improved physical functioning (p = 0.0014) and the negative impact of cancer was associated with poorer physical functioning (p < 0.0001). After controlling for age, marital status, the belief in emotional distress as a cause of cancer, and high stress levels, the negative impact of cancer was associated with poorer mental functioning (p < 0.0001). Higher perceived positive impact of cancer was not associated with improved mental functioning.
Long-term survivors of breast cancer in Austria perceive both positive and negative impacts of breast cancer. These perceptions, in particular the negative impact of cancer, appear to influence, or are potentially influenced by, physical and mental health-related quality of life.
KeywordsSurvivors Breast cancer Oncology Psychosocial Quality of life Impact of Cancer scale
The authors would like to thank Natalija Frank, MPH for her efforts in study participant recruitment.
Compliance with ethical standards
Europa Donna—The European Breast Cancer Coalition in Austria supplied €350 for postage fees associated with this research.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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