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Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2008 Mar;108(2):153-65. Epub 2007 May 10.

Symptoms after breast cancer treatment: are they influenced by patient characteristics?

Author information

  • 1School of Public Health, Health Services, University of California at Los Angeles, Box 951772, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1722, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

This study examines the burden of symptoms by treatment type and patient characteristics in a population-based sample of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.

METHODS:

Using the Los Angeles County SEER Registry Rapid Case Ascertainment, we identified a cohort of breast cancer patients in 2000 and conducted telephone surveys in English and Spanish among participants.

RESULTS:

We completed interviews of 1,219 breast cancer patients and found almost half (46%) had at least one severe symptom (any of the following: nausea/vomiting, arm problems, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping) that interfered with her daily functioning or mood. Multi-variate analysis controlling for patient characteristics and treatment showed that older (OR=0.90; P<0.000), black (OR=0.50; P<0.000), Hispanic Spanish-speaking (OR=0.37; P<0.000), widowed or never married (OR=0.68; P=0.049), and working (OR=0.72; P=0.024) women were less likely to report severe symptoms than other women. Number of comorbid conditions (OR=1.21; P<0.000) and receipt of chemotherapy (OR=1.48; P=0.040) were positively associated with reporting symptoms.

CONCLUSION:

These findings estimate the prevalence of several mutable symptoms in breast cancer patients that can be addressed by appropriate treatments. Comorbidity is a significant predictor of symptoms, especially amongst those receiving chemotherapy. Variation in symptom reporting occurred by race/ethnicity and other sociodemographic characteristics, raising questions of different thresholds for reporting symptoms or truly fewer symptoms for some sociodemographic groups. Population-based estimates of the probability of symptoms in women with incident breast cancer can be used to provide patient education about potential outcomes following the treatment of breast cancer.

PMID:
17492377
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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