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Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 24, Issue 12, pp 4979–4986 | Cite as

Post-treatment problems of African American breast cancer survivors

  • Andrea M. Barsevick
  • Amy Leader
  • Patricia K. Bradley
  • Tiffany Avery
  • Lorraine T. Dean
  • Melissa DiCarlo
  • Sarah E. Hegarty
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

African American breast cancer survivors (AABCS) have a lower survival rate across all disease stages (79 %) compared with White survivors (92 %) and often have more aggressive forms of breast cancer requiring multimodality treatment, so they could experience a larger burden of post-treatment quality of life (QOL) problems. This paper reports a comprehensive assessment of the number, severity, and domains of problems faced by AABCS within 5 years after treatment completion and identifies subgroups at risk for these problems.

Methods

A population-based random sample was obtained from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry of African American females over 18 years of age who completed primary treatment for breast cancer in the past 5 years. A mailed survey was used to document survivorship problems.

Results

Two hundred ninety-seven AABCS completed the survey. The median number of survivor problems reported was 15. Exploratory factor analysis of the problem scale revealed four domains: emotional problems, physical problems, lack of resources, and sexuality problems. Across problem domains, younger age, more comorbid conditions, and greater medical mistrust were risk factors for more severe problems.

Conclusions

The results demonstrated that AABCS experienced significant problem burden in the early years after diagnosis and treatment. In addition to emotional and physical problem domains that were documented in previous research, two problem domains unique to AABCS included lack of resources and sexuality concerns. At risk groups should be targeted for intervention. The study results reported in this manuscript will inform future research to address problems of AABCS as they make the transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor.

Keywords

Cancer survivor Disparities Breast cancer African American Quality of life Medical mistrust 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Community Academic Advisory Board

Tiffany Avery, MD

Wake Forest University

Donna M. Duncan, MBA

Linda Creed Breast Cancer.org

Catharine Crème Henry, MA

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

April Reilly, MSW

American Cancer Society

Novella Lyons

Women of Faith and Hope

Dianne L. Hyman, BSN, RN, OCN

MD Cancer Center - Cooper

Joanne Buzaglo, PhD

Cancer Support Community

Linda G. Fleisher, PhD, MPH

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Gwendolyn A. Smith, RN, CCRN, MBA

Crozer-Keystone Health System

Jeanne Chavious, MSW

Retired, Temple Cancer Center

Loraine T. Dean, ScD

Johns Hopkins University

Evelyn Robles-Rodriguez, MSN, RN

MD Anderson Cancer Center - Cooper

Compliance with ethical standards

Funding source

This study was funded by the American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant, RSGT #10-243-01 (Barsevick) and National Cancer Institute, K01 CA184288 (Dean).

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

520_2016_3359_MOESM1_ESM.doc (87 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 87 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea M. Barsevick
    • 1
  • Amy Leader
    • 1
  • Patricia K. Bradley
    • 2
  • Tiffany Avery
    • 3
  • Lorraine T. Dean
    • 4
  • Melissa DiCarlo
    • 1
  • Sarah E. Hegarty
    • 1
  1. 1.Thomas Jefferson UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Villanova UniversityVillanovaUSA
  3. 3.Wake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA
  4. 4.Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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