Quality of Life and Well-Being of Breast Cancer Patients

Quality of Life and Well-Being of Breast Cancer Patients

Melisa Anderson, Dwayne Tucker, Fabian G. Miller, Kurt Vaz, Lennox Anderson-Jackson, Donovan McGrowder
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 28
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1185-5.ch004
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Breast cancer is a disease in which there is increased proliferation of malignant breast cells. This disease is more likely to begin in the ducts or lobules rather than the connective tissue. Globally, breast cancer is the most regularly diagnosed cancer. It is also a leading cause of cancer-related mortality in females. While cancer of the breast affects the physical aspect of patients, it can also negatively impact the quality of life (QoL) of survivors. There is a dearth of information, especially in the last decade, on the negative impact of breast cancer and treatment modalities on the QoL of patients. This review of the literature will examine the QoL and well-being of breast cancer patients to present a current perspective on the topic. Major findings of past and present articles that have contributed to improving the care of breast cancer patients will be summarized and included.
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Over the last decade, there have been advances in treatment strategies and early detection of breast cancer in developed countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and other European countries. This has resulted in an increased prevalence of breast cancer survivors (Brady et al., 2018). However, breast cancer survivors usually have health concerns related to treatment and an increased risk of developing other conditions like cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and recurrence of the disease (Dieli-Conwright et al., 2014). Over the last several years, a variety of measures have been employed to assess the QoL in breast cancer survivors. In evaluating the short- and long-term effects of breast cancer on the QoL of patients, a number of valid cancer-specific health-related QoL (HRQL) instruments have been established, including (Gordon & Siminoff, 2010):

  • European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Care Cancer QoL Questionnaire Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30) and its breast cancer specific complementary measure (EORTC QLQ-BR23)

  • Life in Adult Cancer Survivor Scale (QLACS)

  • Functional Adjustment to Cancer Therapy (FACT)

  • Cancer Rehabilitation Evaluation System (CARES)

  • Functional Living Index - Cancer (FLIC).

Demographic and socioeconomic factors (i.e., older age, lack of education, low income) have been found to be negatively related to QoL in breast cancer patients. Gender influences the degree of impairment of QoL. The literature suggests that low income is a risk factor of psychological distress. This is more likely among older females with breast cancer who may be on a fixed income compared with their younger counterparts. However, older females may possess a greater degree of psychological adaptation due to prior life experiences, exposure with healthcare systems, and observing other females diagnosed with the disease (Campbell-Enns & Woodgate, 2015).

This article will review information in the literature on the QoL and well-being of breast cancer patients. It will also examine how social support and physical exercise improve the QoL of these patients during and after treatment. The article will also discuss findings from the literature relating to rehabilitation intervention of breast cancer patients and how these improve QoL and well-being.

Method of Article Selection

A literature search was conducted for all English-language literature published prior to April 2019. The search was conducted using electronic databases, including PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library. The search strategy included keywords like breast cancer, QoL, well-being, treatment, intervention, social support, physical exercise, and QoL scales. The authors include several interventional and observational studies with reported findings, particularly recently published journal articles.

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