The aim of our study was to identify any differences in the quality of life (QOL) of breast cancer survivors one year after diagnosis when the acute treatment effects should not longer be apparent. QOL was assessed in a population-based cohort of 387 women with breast cancer from Saarland (Germany) using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 (EORTC-QLC30). Functional and symptom QOL-scores were compared with published reference data from the general population. Breast cancer survivors and women from the general population reported similar scores of global health/QOL. However, major deficits among women with breast cancer were found, for emotional, social, role and cognitive functioning. Age-specific comparisons between breast cancer patients and the reference population revealed that these deficits are predominantly found in younger age groups. The overall QOL of life of breast cancer survivors one year after diagnosis is comparable to women from the general population. However, some differences exist that seem to predominantly affect younger women who show a poorer QOL in certain domains.