Treatment anxiety in breast cancer patients

Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2019 May;299(5):1365-1371. doi: 10.1007/s00404-018-05038-z. Epub 2019 Jan 22.


Introduction: The aim of the present study was to determine and evaluate the levels of anxiety of breast cancer patients according to the state of treatment, age and education level, as well as the anxiety potential of certain procedures during breast cancer treatment.

Method: 148 breast cancer patients participated in this prospective cohort study and filled out the questionnaires including the Spielberger state-trait-anxiety-inventory, as well as questions based to stress triggering procedures during breast cancer therapy. The testing was accomplished with the Mann-Whitney U test, the significance level was set to 0.05.

Results: Patients who appeared for tumor board decision showed the highest state-anxiety levels (55.79 SD ± 18.73) followed by patients undergoing surgery (50.24 SD ± 13.84). Patients already undergoing chemotherapy had lower state-anxiety levels than the group of all other patients (p = 0.012). Women undergoing chemotherapy showed lower anxiety levels relating to many procedures of breast cancer treatment. The 25% quartile of patients with the highest levels in the trait score showed a significant poorer education level (p = 0.009). Age showed no statistical influence on the anxiety level of breast cancer patients. CONCLUSION: Patients with probably high anxiety levels (younger age, low education level, and those appearing for frightening procedures) should receive extra careful clarification and treatment support such as a psycho-oncologist.

Keywords: Anxiety; Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies