Quality of Life Research

, Volume 24, Issue 12, pp 2939–2943 | Cite as

Quality of life and metastatic breast cancer: the role of body image, disease site, and time since diagnosis

  • Sara I. McClelland
  • Kathryn J. Holland
  • Jennifer J. Griggs
Brief Communication



Too little is understood about the quality of life (QoL) concerns of patients diagnosed with advanced disease. While body image has been found to be consistently important for women with early-stage breast cancer, the impact of body image on women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is less frequently studied. This cross-sectional study aimed to identify factors affecting QoL in a sample of patients diagnosed with MBC, with particular attention to body image, disease site, and time since diagnosis.


In total, 113 women diagnosed with MBC completed two QoL scales (EORTC QLQ30; EORTC BR23) as part of a larger study. Clinical characteristics were obtained via medical record review. Demographics, disease characteristics, and clinical factors were examined.


Time since diagnosis and location of metastases were found to affect patients’ QoL, and most strikingly, this effect often differed for those with higher and lower body image. Body image appears to remain highly influential even for those living with a shortened life expectancy.


These findings indicate that the development of QoL support should more carefully consider patients diagnosed with MBC and the unique sets of body concerns that affect this population.


Oncology Breast cancer Metastatic Body image Quality of life Middle age 



The authors wish to thank Tracey Revenson for comments on an earlier draft of this paper. This work was supported by the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cancer Research Committee, University of Michigan and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan.

Ethical standard

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sara I. McClelland
    • 1
  • Kathryn J. Holland
    • 1
  • Jennifer J. Griggs
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Psychology and Women’s StudiesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School and Health Management and PolicyUniversity of Michigan School of Public HealthAnn ArborUSA

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