In a nutshell
This study investigated patient-reported outcomes related to radiotherapy (RT) for breast cancer.
They found that patients were dissatisfied with outcomes after RT but this was not a long-term effect.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. A number of strategies are used to treat BC. A lot of BC cases are detected at an early stage. The standard of care for these patients is called breast-conserving therapy (BCT). This usually involves surgery to remove the tumor. The breast is not removed. Instead, radiotherapy (RT) may be used. RT uses radiation to kill cancer cells.
There are a number of side effects associated with RT. RT can have long-term effects on the heart and lungs. It can also lead to skin damage and breast changes. This can have an impact on a patient’s quality of life. Aesthetic outcomes are also important. It describes the physical appearance of the breast area after treatment. All these outcomes are called patient-reported outcomes. They are very important in long-term health. Understanding patient-reported outcomes after BCT is important. It can help us to understand the long-term impact of RT on patient wellbeing and counsel other patients.
Methods & findings
This study included 175 patients with early BC. All patients were undergoing BCT including RT. Patients were assessed before the start of RT. Follow-up was performed up to 2 years after RT. A set of questionnaires were used to assess patient-reported outcomes. These included quality of live, aesthetic outcomes, and body image.
Patient-reported outcome scores were low at the beginning of the study. Quality of life scores were reduced during RT treatment. 1 year after RT, quality of life was improved. Fatigue (tiredness) levels were unsatisfactory during RT. This improved 1 year after RT. Overall, most patient-reported outcomes were unsatisfactory during RT and improved after RT. Aesthetic outcomes were significantly low in 30% patients 2 years after RT.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that patients were dissatisfied with outcomes after RT but this was not a long-term effect.
The fine print
The data in this study was variable. Patient experience can vary. Previous disease treatment also varied. The long-term effect of RT on patient-reported outcomes is still unclear. More investigation is needed.
If you have any concerns regarding breast cancer treatment, please consult with your oncologist.
Published By :
Supportive care in cancer: official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
Feb 21, 2019
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