Breast Cancer Surgery Choice May Affect Young Survivors’ Quality of Life
According to a recent study, women diagnosed with breast cancer who had one or both breasts surgically removed (a unilateral or bilateral mastectomy) had lower scores on a quality-of-life survey (a questionnaire on the standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group). This indicated worse quality of life compared to women who had surgery to remove only the tumor and proximal healthy tissue (breast-conserving surgery). The researchers sent a quality-of-life questionnaire, BREAST-Q, to 560 young breast cancer survivors (40 years or younger) at the time of their diagnosis.
Women diagnosed with breast cancer who had one or both breasts surgically removed had lower scores on a quality-of-life survey.
The BREAST-Q questionnaire included several topics, namely the patients’ satisfaction with their breasts after surgery, psychosocial well-being (e.g., anxiety levels), and sexual well-being. In each of these areas, the patients’ responses differed depending on whether a woman had undergone breast-conserving surgery, unilateral mastectomy, or bilateral mastectomy. Women who underwent a mastectomy followed by radiation therapy reported the lowest quality-of-life scores.
Women who underwent a mastectomy followed by radiation therapy reported the lowest quality-of-life scores.
The implications from this investigation suggest that the decisions women with breast cancer make regarding surgery can significantly impact their long-term quality-of-life. Accordingly, clinicians should engage with their patients about surgical options so that everyone can understand how treatment choices can affect an individual patient’s quality of life.
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The Women’s Cancer Research Foundation (WCRF) is one of the most active research organizations in the nation. We are dedicated to studying and evaluating novel treatments for women afflicted with breast, ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers. The WCRF persistently endeavors to make a difference in women’s lives by offering them hope, strength, and progress.
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