Age-related differences in the quality of life of breast carcinoma patients after treatment

Cancer. 1999 Nov 1;86(9):1768-74.


Background: The objective of this study was to compare the quality of life (QOL) of younger (< or =50 years) versus older (>50 years) women on recent completion of treatment of breast carcinoma.

Methods: Data reported herein were obtained from a baseline assessment of 304 breast carcinoma patients. These patients were enrolled in a multiinstitutional, randomized trial testing a psychosocial telephone counseling intervention for breast carcinoma patients immediately after treatment. The assessment was made using a self-administered (mail) questionnaire, with an overall response rate of 86%. Included in this questionnaire were standardized measures of QOL using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast instrument, the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, and the Impact of Event Scale.

Results: Comparisons of baseline data analyzed according to age approximating menopausal status (< or =50 years and >50 years) indicated that younger women reported significantly greater QOL disturbance. QOL was significantly worse for younger women globally (P = 0.021), and with regard to domains of emotional well-being (P = 0.0002) and breast carcinoma specific concerns (P = 0.022). Furthermore, symptoms of depression (P = 0.041) and disease specific intrusive thoughts (P = 0.013) were significantly worse for younger women. No significant sexual dysfunction or body image differences were noted.

Conclusions: Results from this analysis suggest that younger women with breast carcinoma should be considered to be at high risk for QOL disruption and significant clinical distress. Targeted interventions for this cohort are recommended.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Time Factors