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Ann Surg Oncol. 2013 Oct;20(11):3453-60. doi: 10.1245/s10434-013-3004-8. Epub 2013 May 24.

Profile and predictors of long-term morbidity in breast cancer survivors.

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Department of Surgery, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.



A sound understanding of the benefits of different treatment options and their health-related quality of life (HRQoL) impacts is required for optimal breast cancer care.


A cross-sectional cohort study was conducted to determine the prevalence and severity of persistent functional decrements and symptoms and identify demographic, clinical and treatment variables associated with poorer outcomes. Four hundred English-speaking women treated for ductal carcinoma-in-situ or stage I to III breast cancer between 1999 and 2009, at least 12 months after surgery and currently disease free, were randomly selected and invited to complete (1) the Breast Cancer Treatment Outcome Scale and (2) the EORTC core Quality of Life Questionnaire, version 3.


The response rate was 85.60 %. Many participants reported moderate to severe decrements in a number of HRQoL domains, including functional well-being (15 %), cosmetic status (32 %) and overall quality of life (21 %). There were significant associations (p < .05) between younger age and poorer HRQoL but none between time since surgery and morbidity (p > .05). Different treatments were associated with different HRQoL impacts. Poorer functional status was predicted by axillary dissection (p = .011), and adjuvant radiotherapy was a significant predictor of breast-specific pain (p < .05).


Many breast cancer survivors report long-term morbidity that is unaffected by time since surgery. The significant associations between the extent of locoregional therapies and poorer HRQoL outcomes emphasize the importance of the safe tailoring of these treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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