Population-based study of the relationship of treatment and sociodemographics on quality of life for early stage breast cancer

Qual Life Res. 2005 Aug;14(6):1467-79. doi: 10.1007/s11136-005-0288-6.


Objective: To examine the relationship between cancer stage, surgical treatment and chemotherapy on quality of life (QOL) after breast cancer and determine if sociodemographic characteristics modify the observed relationships.

Methods: A population-based sample of women with Stages 0-II breast cancer in the United States (N = 1357) completed surveys including the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30), and the Breast Cancer-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ BR-23). Regression models calculated mean QOL scores across primary surgical treatment and chemotherapy. Clinically significant differences in QOL were defined as > or = 10 point difference (out of 100) between groups.

Results: Meaningful differences in QOL by surgical treatment were limited to body image with women receiving mastectomy with reconstruction reporting lower scores than women receiving breast conserving surgery (p < 0.001). Chemotherapy lowered QOL scores overall across four QOL dimensions (p values < 0.001), with a disproportionately greater impact on those with lower levels of education. Younger women reported lower QOL scores for seven of nine QOL dimensions (p values < 0.001).

Conclusions: Women should be reassured that few QOL differences exist based on surgical treatment, however, clinicians should recognize that the impact of treatment on QOL does vary by a woman's age and educational level.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Image
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Los Angeles
  • Mammaplasty / psychology
  • Mastectomy / methods
  • Mastectomy / psychology
  • Michigan
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • SEER Program
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires