Improvement of health–related quality of life in women with breast
cancer after primary therapy by standardized inpatient rehabilitation.
Patients and Methods:
129 women with breast cancer, 25–75 years old, and 42
healthy women were interviewed about their health–related quality of life by
using the EORTC–QLQ–C30. This questionnaire assesses different aspects of
quality of life as well as overall quality of life. Quality of life of breast cancer patients
was assessed before and after inpatient rehabilitation, considering especially
their age and the interval between diagnosis and rehabilitation.
Compared with healthy women, the breast cancer patients had distinctly
reduced values in the beginning of rehabilitation. By specific therapy, the
overall quality of life as well as physical, emotional and role function could be
improved significantly (p < 0.0001). Concerning cognitive and social function,
there were also significant changes after rehabilitation (p < 0.0001), but only in
50% of the women an improvement could be shown. There was no evidence
of correlation between quality of life after the end of primary therapy and the
patients’ age or the interval between diagnosis and rehabilitation.
Up to 3 years after the end of primary therapy, the health–related
quality of life is noticeably reduced in breast cancer patients, without showing
a tendency toward spontaneous improvement. By an intensive therapy with
psychooncologic measures and activating physiotherapy, the quality of life can
be improved in these patients. Whether this improvement leads to a long–term
effect must be shown by a presently conducted randomized, prospective study.