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breast cancer


Source: Cancer

  • Published: Jan 15, 2014
  • Added to your feed: Jun 02, 2016
  • Added by Medivizor: Mar 03, 2014
  • Updated by Medivizor: Feb 17, 2015
  • Health-related quality-of-life is an important factor in patient survival

    In a nutshell

    This study assessed the relationship between cancer survival, quality of life, and specific cancer symptoms among 11 different types of cancer.

    Some background

    Various different factors, in various different cancer types, are known to be predictors of disease outcome. Specific cancer or treatment related symptoms have also been recently identified as being significant in predicting the outlook of cancer. The overall effect of the disease and treatments on a patient's quality of life and activities of daily living have also been known to predict prognosis. This first of a kind study analyzed quality of life and specific cancer symptoms in 11 different cancer sites using a single standardized and previously validated questionnaire (the EORTC QLQ-C30).

    Methods & findings

    Of the 30 trials included in this analysis, 3 trials assessed a total of 321 breast cancer patients of any type or stage. After accounting for multiple variables, physical functioning, emotional functioning, nausea and vomiting, and global health status were all predictive for survival among breast cancer patients.

    Physical functioning, as assessed by the questionnaire, includes the ability to perform various degrees of effort, such as walking or carrying heavy loads, as well as basic functions such as eating, dressing and washing. Emotional functioning includes attributes of depression and mental well-being, such as difficulty sleeping and often feeling worried, tensed or irritable. Often feeling nauseous and vomiting were also found to be predictive of worse cancer outcome. Global health status includes attributes of both functional and emotional well-being, as well as the effect of disease or treatments on family life, social activities and financial situation.

    The bottom line

    The authors concluded that health-related quality-of-life symptoms are important predictors of survival in breast cancer, and should be taken into consideration when assessing the outlook of the disease. 

    This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use the information provided by Medivizor solely at your own risk. Medivizor makes no warranties or representations as to the accuracy of information provided herein. If you have any concerns about your health, please consult a physician.

    Discussion about this item

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    1. NancySupport Mar 03, 2014

      Sort of nice to know information, but not a game changer. If I didn't answer the questionnaire myself, I'm less interested in the information. Reply

    2. Anonymous Mar 04, 2014

      That really doesn't mean a lot to me .i am a 5yr breast cancer survivor and need to know more. Reply

    3. Matt@Medivizor Mar 04, 2014

      Thank you both for your comments.
      Nancy, you are right, this is not a game changer. Sadly most studies are not. It is a notable study though, which both provides additional prognostic information, and puts focus on the importance of improving quality of life in treated patients and survivors alike.
      Anonymous, we are glad to hear you feel this information is no longer of significance, since we assume this means you are currently back to living a normal, fulfilling life. That's amazing, and you should feel free to share from your experiences looking back on how you did it. Reply

      • Anonymous Mar 05, 2014

        Diagnosed in Dec. 2008. Lumpectomy in Jan 2009with 33 radiation trmts and five yrs of Anastrozole. Had every side effect known to man and some lasted for years and others for months. Left me with such fatigue That I had to nap every day for at least 2 hrs. Mentally I was a mess. I have very high anxiety levels. Always have and cancer made it worse. Take anti anxiety meds now and see a cancer psychologist regularly. It is always in the back of my mind that there will be a recurrance . Try to live one day at a time but still find it hard. Went to support group for a couple years but got to the point where I didn't want to keep hearing stories over and over again. I was to go off the anastrozole in March of this year but in Feb I noticed a dark line across my teeth at the gum line about 1/4 Inch down from the tops of my teeth. Dentist said it was build up of meds for 5 yrs although onc. Said not true. I believe dentist and decided to go off med one month before my 5 yrs. much to his disapproval. I am convinced that this drug was poisoning my body and not wanting to sound like some nut case I just went off one month early and in just 4 weeks some of the Se has gone and I have more energy. I'm glad I took it but it really is hard on the body and mind. I only missed 2 pills in the 5 yrs. so I think I did pretty good. I have friends that just take the med when they feel like it which I don't think is good. Maybe I'm rattling on but I think it is very hard to have Se and they can be quite serious. Thanks for listening! Reply

        • lesleyb Nov 21, 2015

          Please do not taking your arimidex. I took it for 5 years also and decided the se's were enough for me. 4 years later I developed metastatic BC. My onc at the time let me know that after the 5 years initially it was my decision which path i was to take. NOW, 10 years is the gold standard and i wish i had that info 4 years ago. Try and put up with the se's. It may be the best decision you have ever made. I am back on it now to get rid of any eostrogen that is still circulating in the body. I had my uterus and ovaries removoved 2 years ago and oestrogen is still circulating in my system from fat cells and other areas in my body. Don't mean to scare you but the more info you have about BC the better Reply

    4. Matt@Medivizor Mar 05, 2014

      Thanks for sharing! Reply

    5. gritgirl Mar 07, 2014

      Matt: I think you're right in that this study could indicate the need for added aspects to treatment, such as physical therapy or occupational therapy to help with patient mobility. Or further counseling to deal with depression. All of the factors listed in the study really are quality of life factors, and if a patient has a significantly lessened quality of life, they are more likely to lose hope and that makes a difference.

      The greatest value of this study is providing solid research to convince medical teams to seriously consider and address quality of life issues, including emotional outlook, and treat the patient more holistically. Reply

    6. Matt@Medivizor Mar 09, 2014

      Thanks Gritgirl. No doubt that the importance of treating symptoms and quality of life has finally started receiving focus among medical practitioners. Reply

    7. gritgirl Mar 10, 2014

      Matt: Because without quality of life, what is the point? :-) Reply

    8. Lujos Feb 10, 2015

      I personally feel that quality of life is mostly ignored by oncologists. I know their focus is on getting rid of the cancer, but 5+ years is a lot of time to feel largely crap. Side effect drugs often make you feel just as bad as the chemo. Radiation can be horrible for the skin ...forever. Hormone treatments can permanently affect you in all ways, too.

      Not that any of this means I won't complete treatment - but in my opinion, the current range of treatments is pretty appalling. Reply

    9. Kate Feb 16, 2015

      I agree with you, Lujos. Although, at my Cancer center they are trying to treat us more holistically so that is a positive. One of the first questions they ask me is how I am feeling; even though they have the recent scan results, Bloodwork or what ever else. I am at Stage 4 so really if all the rest of my days are going to be crap what is the point of making my time last longer in that condition? Right now things are going good so let the good times roll!!! Reply

    10. Anonymous Nov 20, 2015

      My drs take quality of life into consideration for the most part. They also do some town meeting type events to cover the issues we don't plan for or the ones that surprise us when they show up. They have worked with me on trying to control the side effects of anastrozole. Perfect, no. Better than a lot of drs, absolutely. I feel we need to take on part of the quality of life issues ourselves. Reply

      • lesleyb Nov 21, 2015

        Anonymous, I have posted above re Arimidex. It may interest you. keep taking your Arimidex for at least 10 years to ward off the chances of becoming Stage 4 like I am. Wish I had taken it for 10 years and not 5. Reply

        • Anonymous Nov 21, 2015

          I'm a stubborn thing. I have made up my mind. I have in over a year on it. I'll make it through it. I just did a trial on a drug to help with the side effects. It did help quite a bit. I take turmeric, which helps. I think there will be more things that help. I also think we can help control our own quality of life with our own attitudes.


    11. baridirects Nov 21, 2015

      After I was diagnosed with metastatic disease in March 2014, my oncologist, whom I have been working with since my early stage diagnosis in February 2013, has repeatedly said, "Chris, from now until the end of the journey, whenever that will be, it is always going to be about your quality of life, and how we can provide treatment to you without compromising that more than you are willing to tolerate. I would say to you, if you want to do it, do it now. You are feeling well, the treatments are pretty much benign. You can travel, work, whatever you like. Enjoy every day as it were a gift, because it is." I've taken that advice seriously. I work (3 little part time jobs), I sing and perform with my chorus and my quartet, I exercise regularly, I watch what I eat (although I'm not militant about it), I pray and meditate, I travel, I mentor others on the journey, and I am mentored in return. Considering the circumstances, I actually feel as though I have a pretty good quality of life right now, and I'm going to enjoy that while I have it. When my "normal" changes, which it certainly will at some point, I'll adjust from there. Our oncologists and the rest of our care teams can only do so much to help us - the rest, and this includes the bulk of the quality of life issues, is our responsibility, and we need to take and keep ownership of it. Believe me, being a Stage IV MetSister has a lot of suckage attached to it, but I refuse to let it defeat or define me, and certainly NOT allow it to crush my spirit or take over my days. Reply

      • Gail Jan 07, 2017

        God bless you! I love your attitude! You made me smile. Reply

    12. Cherry Jan 06, 2017

      I try and remain healthy. I refuse treatment that makes me ill. I stopped chemo. I stopped one of the drugs. I have no intention of letting the cancer guys ride roughshod. I refused further lymph removal. Comparative survival rates proven me correct. I read every bit of research and I make up my own mind. On Herceptin and shortly radiotherapy. So far ok..pains in legs etc. But aches and pains I can cope with Reply



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