The Influence of the Surgical Treatment Method on the Quality of Life of Women With Breast Cancer

Eur J Breast Health. 2023 Apr 1;19(2):121-127. doi: 10.4274/ejbh.galenos.2023.2022-9-1. eCollection 2023 Apr.


Objective: Breast cancer is the most common malignant neoplasm among women in Poland. The primary treatment for breast cancer is surgery. The choice of surgical treatment method can significantly affect the quality of life of women with breast cancer.

Materials and methods: Women treated surgically because of breast cancer were included. The quality of life was assessed by survey using the quality of live questionnaire (QLQ)-C30 and QLQ-BR23 (European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer) questionnaires, taking into account the following factors: The method of surgery performed and comparing breast conserving therapy (BCT) with mastectomy, and breast reconstruction or the lack of it.

Results: The study included 243 subjects. Women had a reduced overall quality of life (53.88 points out of 100), in particular emotional (59.77) and sexual (17.49) functioning, and a poor body image assessment (61.57). Patients after BCT functioned better in physical (p = 0.001) and sexual (p = 0.007) terms, and also experienced lower pain intensity (p = 0.003) and shoulder discomfort (p = 0.024). The quality of life was significantly higher (p = 0.003) in the opinion of women who underwent breast reconstructive surgery.

Conclusion: The quality of life of women depends on the surgical treatment method used when treating breast cancer. For this reason, the choice of method, whenever possible, should promote breast protection or its postoperative reconstruction.

Keywords: Breast cancer; conserving therapy; mastectomy; quality of life; reconstruction.