Study evaluated the evolution of the quality of life of breast cancer patients

A study by the Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (ISPUP) assessed the evolution of the quality of life of a group of breast cancer patients in the first three years after diagnosis of the disease, and concluded that the type of surgery the women undergo, the existence of symptoms of depression and anxiety and poor quality of sleep negatively influence the trajectory of quality of life of patients.

According to Luísa Conceição, the first author of the work, coordinated by Nuno Lunet, studying the quality of life of breast cancer patients matters, because “the survival of this type of cancer has been increasing in most developed countries, due to the use of frequent screening and more effective treatments. Therefore, strategies that promote the quality of life of these women both in the short and long term are necessary, not least because the disease is associated with several complications resulting from treatments, such as neuropathic pain, sleep problems, anxiety and depression”.

The researchers evaluated the trajectory of the quality of life of 451 patients with breast cancer, who are part of the NEON-BC cohort, a longitudinal study that has followed, since 2012, 506 women diagnosed with the disease and that were proposed for surgical treatment at IPO-Porto.

The study, published in the Journal of Public Health, took into account the quality of life of the participants in three moments: the period of diagnosis, and one year and three years after the detection of the pathology, thus covering the treatment period.

The study found that a group of women managed to maintain a stable quality of life over the three years and, in another group, there was a deterioration in the quality of life of the participants between the time of diagnosis and one year later.

The type of breast surgery that women underwent for the treatment of breast cancer was found to have an influence on their quality of life. Those who underwent mastectomy (complete breast removal surgery) had a worse quality of life trajectory during the three years under analysis. Further, patients who, over time, had a worse evolution in quality of life were found to also have a higher frequency of depression, anxiety and poor sleep quality.

For Luísa Conceição, “these results show the importance of monitoring the quality of life of breast cancer survivors, and reinforce the need to evaluate and monitor symptoms such as anxiety, depression and sleep quality, to improve their quality of life, both in the short and long term”.

The study, carried out within the Epidemiology Research Unit (EPIUnit) of ISPUP, is entitled Quality of life trajectories during the first three years after diagnosis of breast cancer: the NEON-BC study. The researchers Mariana Brandão, Natália Araújo, Milton Severo, Teresa Dias, Bárbara Peleteiro, Filipa Fontes and Susana Pereira also participated in the research.

Image: Pixabay/marijana1

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