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Qual Life Res. 2005 Aug;14(6):1467-79.

Population-based study of the relationship of treatment and sociodemographics on quality of life for early stage breast cancer.

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Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, 1420 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-2029, USA.



To examine the relationship between cancer stage, surgical treatment and chemotherapy on quality of life (QOL) after breast cancer and determine if sociodemographic characteristics modify the observed relationships.


A population-based sample of women with Stages 0-II breast cancer in the United States (N = 1357) completed surveys including the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30), and the Breast Cancer-Specific Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ BR-23). Regression models calculated mean QOL scores across primary surgical treatment and chemotherapy. Clinically significant differences in QOL were defined as > or = 10 point difference (out of 100) between groups.


Meaningful differences in QOL by surgical treatment were limited to body image with women receiving mastectomy with reconstruction reporting lower scores than women receiving breast conserving surgery (p < 0.001). Chemotherapy lowered QOL scores overall across four QOL dimensions (p values < 0.001), with a disproportionately greater impact on those with lower levels of education. Younger women reported lower QOL scores for seven of nine QOL dimensions (p values < 0.001).


Women should be reassured that few QOL differences exist based on surgical treatment, however, clinicians should recognize that the impact of treatment on QOL does vary by a woman's age and educational level.

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