Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Clin Oncol. 1998 Feb;16(2):487-94.

Long-term quality of life after breast cancer: comparison of 8-year survivors with population controls.

Author information

  • 1Groupe de Recherche en Epidémiologie, Département de Médecine Sociale et Préventive, Université Laval, Québec, Canada.



Quality of life of breast cancer survivors 8 years after diagnosis was compared with that among similarly aged women who had never confronted cancer (controls).


Survivors of a consecutive series of 227 breast cancer patients first treated in 1984 were approached for this study. Random-digit dialing was used to identify controls with the same age and residential distribution as the survivors. Quality of life was assessed in terms of physical health, functional status, psychologic distress, and social functioning.


Participation was obtained from 96% (n = 124) of 129 eligible survivors and 61% (n = 262) of 427 potentially eligible controls. Consistently smaller proportions of survivors reported positive quality-of-life outcomes compared with controls, but these differences were generally small and nonsignificant statistically. When limited to women who remained free of disease over the entire follow-up period (n = 98), survivors' quality of life was similar to that among controls, with the exception of arm problems and sexual satisfaction for those women who lived with a partner. In contrast, survivors who developed recurrence or new primary breast cancer (n = 26) experienced a worse quality of life in all domains except social functioning.


In most domains and for women without further disease events after diagnosis, quality of life does not seem to be permanently and globally impaired by breast cancer. Consequently, breast cancer survivors who remain free of disease probably do not need organized late psychosocial follow-up to improve quality of life. However, arm problems and sexuality are two areas in which additional effort may be still needed to improve quality of life of long-term survivors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk