Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 109–115

Quality of life in patients with ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast treated with conservative surgery and postoperative irradiation

  • Maurizio Amichetti
  • Orazio Caffo
  • Mauro Arcicasa
  • Mario Roncadin
  • Ornella Lora
  • Alberto Rigon
  • Giampaolo Zini
  • Luciano Armaroli
  • Francesca Coghetto
  • Pierluigi Zorat
  • Stefanoti Neri
  • Nazario Teodorani


Aim of the study: To evaluate the quality of life (QL) in patients with ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast treated with conservative surgery and postoperative irradiation.

Material and methods: A self‐completed questionnaire covering many disease‐, symptom‐, and treatment‐specific issues was administered to 106 conservatively treated patients affected by non‐infiltrating breast cancer. The questionnaire was based on a series of 34 items assessing five main fields of post‐treatment adjustment: physical well being, sexual adaptation, aesthetic outcome, emotional/psychological well being, relational behaviour. Furthermore, the patients were requested to evaluate the degree of information provided by the medical staff concerning surgical procedures and radiation therapy, and to evaluate the effects of the treatment on their social and overall life.

Results: The questionnaire was completed by 83 patients (78%), who had a median follow‐up of 54.5 months. This final sample had a median age of 50 years (range 29–88) at the time of treatment and 54 years (range 32–94) at the time of study. The patients claimed to be in good physical condition. Data relating to sexual life were provided by 93% of the sample. Some limitations in sexuality, some interference with sexual desire, and some modifications during intercourse were reported by 5, 6, and 5 patients, respectively. The subjective evaluations of the cosmetic results of the therapies were generally good. Only 13 patients (16%) reported the perception of a worsened body image. Forty‐six percent of the sample (38 patients) declared that they felt tense, 48% (39 patients) nervous, 29% (38 patients) lonely, 59% (41 patients) anxious, and 41% (34 patients) depressed. Only seven patients (8%) declared that the treatment had had a bad effect on their social life, and 15 (18%) thought that their current life had been affected by the treatment. The amount of information received concerning the disease and treatment (surgery and radiotherapy) was considered sufficient by 79%, 75%, and 79% of the sample, respectively.

Conclusions: This study revealed a good QL in patients treated with breast conservation and postoperative irradiation, with a preserved favourable body image and a lack of negative impact on sexuality. Radiation therapy did not lead to any significant additional problems capable of affecting the QL.

breast conservation DCIS quality of life radiotherapy 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurizio Amichetti
    • 1
  • Orazio Caffo
    • 1
  • Mauro Arcicasa
    • 2
  • Mario Roncadin
    • 2
  • Ornella Lora
    • 3
  • Alberto Rigon
    • 3
  • Giampaolo Zini
    • 4
  • Luciano Armaroli
    • 4
  • Francesca Coghetto
    • 5
  • Pierluigi Zorat
    • 5
  • Stefanoti Neri
    • 6
  • Nazario Teodorani
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Radiation Oncology of TrentoItaly
  2. 2.Department of Radiation Oncology of AvianoItaly
  3. 3.Department of Radiation Oncology of PadovaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Radiation Oncology of Reggio EmiliaItaly
  5. 5.Department of Radiation Oncology of TrevisoItaly
  6. 6.Department of Radiation Oncology of BolognaItaly

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