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