The Long-Term Evolution of Quality of Life for Breast Cancer Treated Patients
Life is not just a matter of length but of depth and quality as well. The effect of treatment on quality of life (QoL) is important at all stages of the patient’s treatment. However, relatively little is known about the long-term evolution of QoL for breast cancer treated patients. To systematically analyse long-term (LT) QoL we made a distinction between short-, medium- and long-term survivals. Through a questionnaire, we gathered information on treatment, general health, activity problems, disease symptoms, pain, emotions, work, social activities, self care, housekeeping, sexuality, family and meaning of life. This broad questionnaire allowed us to analyse the evolution in QoL for different dimensions over three survival groups. We found that the longer the survival time, the more the QoL of breast cancer treated patients ameliorated. Rather surprisingly, patients treated more than five years ago assessed their actual health status as slightly better – however not statistically significant – than before diagnosis. Differences were found depending on the QoL related dimension and survival time. The scores on the emotional and meaning of life variables restored to initial levels in the longterm, while the lower scores on sexuality items remained more persistent. The longer the survival time, other factors such as ageing related problems influenced results.
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