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Distress and body image due to altered appearance in posttreatment and active treatment of breast cancer patients and in general population controls

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2017

Danbee Kang
Affiliation:
Departments of Health Sciences and Technology and Clinical Research Design and Evaluation, Samsung Advanced Institute of Health Sciences and Technology, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea
Eun-Kyung Choi
Affiliation:
Cancer Education Center, Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Im-Ryung Kim
Affiliation:
Cancer Education Center, Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Seok Jin Nam
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Jeong Eon Lee
Affiliation:
Departments of Health Sciences and Technology and Clinical Research Design and Evaluation, Samsung Advanced Institute of Health Sciences and Technology, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea Department of Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Young-Hyuck Im
Affiliation:
Department of Hematology and Oncology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Jin Seok Ahn
Affiliation:
Department of Hematology and Oncology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Yeon Hee Park
Affiliation:
Departments of Health, Behavior, and Society and Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Juhee Cho*
Affiliation:
Departments of Health Sciences and Technology and Clinical Research Design and Evaluation, Samsung Advanced Institute of Health Sciences and Technology, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea Cancer Education Center, Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea Departments of Health, Behavior, and Society and Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
*
*Address correspondence and reprint requests to Juhee Cho, Department of Clinical Research Design & Evaluation, SAIHST, Sungkyunkwan University, 81 Irwon-ro, Gangnam, Seoul 06351, South Korea. E-mail: jcho@skku.edu.

Abstract

Objective:

Our objective was to evaluate long-term altered appearance, distress, and body image in posttreatment breast cancer patients and compare them with those of patients undergoing active treatment and with general population controls.

Method:

We conducted a cross-sectional survey between May and December of 2010. We studied 138 breast cancer patients undergoing active treatment and 128 posttreatment patients from 23 Korean hospitals and 315 age- and area-matched subjects drawn from the general population. Breast, hair, and skin changes, distress, and body image were assessed using visual analogue scales and the EORTC BR–23. Average levels of distress were compared across groups, and linear regression was utilized to identify the factors associated with body image.

Results:

Compared to active-treatment patients, posttreatment patients reported similar breast changes (6.6 vs. 6.2), hair loss (7.7 vs. 6.7), and skin changes (5.8 vs. 5.4), and both groups had significantly more severe changes than those of the general population controls (p < 0.01). For a similar level of altered appearance, however, breast cancer patients experienced significantly higher levels of distress than the general population. In multivariate analysis, patients with high altered appearance distress reported significantly poorer body image (–20.7, CI95% = –28.3 to –13.1) than patients with low distress.

Significance of results:

Posttreatment breast cancer patients experienced similar levels of altered appearance, distress, and body-image disturbance relative to patients undergoing active treatment but significantly higher distress and poorer body image than members of the general population. Healthcare professionals should acknowledge the possible long-term effects of altered appearance among breast cancer survivors and help them to manage the associated distress and psychological consequences.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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