Moderate-to-severe symptoms are prevalent among patients attending a breast cancer survivorship clinic (#784)
The majority of women who are treated for early stage breast cancer die of causes other than breast cancer but experience longterm sequelae from treatment. 73 women who had completed treatment for stage I-III breast cancer were enrolled in a survivorship protocol which included quality of life (QoL) questionnaires, bloodwork, bone density, and cardiac function. We report the QoL findings. Of 73 enrollees, 59 (68.5%) completed questionnaires. The median age was 55.4 (±9.1) years with 25.8 (14.2-64.3) months from diagnosis; 14 (28%) were stage I, 29 (58%) stage II, 7 (14%) stage III; 10 (20%) received adjuvant chemotherapy, 14 (28%) endocrine therapy and 23 (46%) both. Within the past week, 50 experienced the following symptoms “quite a bit” or “very much:” hot flashes -21, weight gain - 16, low libido-16, pain in the joints -15, upper body swelling -14, vaginal dryness-13, and night sweats – 13. Hot flashes were positively correlated with night sweats (p<0.001), pain in joints (p<0.001), age (p<0.05), and irritability (p<0.05), negatively correlated with breast sensitivity/tenderness (p<0.001) and no correlation with time since diagnosis, stage, systemic therapy, or fatigue. Within the prior month, participants “accomplished less than they would have liked” due to physical health 21 (42%) and emotional problems 19 (38%). Sleep quality was “fairly poor to bad” in 36% and correlated with bodily pain (p<0.001) and night sweats (p<0.05) but not pain in joints, hot flashes, systemic therapy, endocrine therapy, or time since diagnosis. Health limited vigorous physical activity in 34% and correlated with age (p<0.0005), worsening sleep quality (p<0.01), pain in joints (p <0.05), but not stage or time since diagnosis. Breast cancer survivors continue to have symptoms which compromise QoL long after their initial cancer diagnosis and treatment. We have undertaken a prospective trial to determine the role of individual therapeutic interventions on QoL.