Title: Comparing the psycho social health conditions of women with and without breast cancer
Introduction: Women with breast cancer often have cluster of psychosocial symptoms, including poor sleep, fatigue, and mood disturbance, across the cancer trajectory. Understanding the psychosocial health conditions of women with breast cancer can help the healthcare professionals plan for the rehabilitative interventions and preventive measures for cancer recurrence. Thus, this study aimed at comparing the psychosocial health conditions between women with and without breast cancer.
Methods: A total of 32 women with breast cancer (in stages I to III) with mean age of 47 years old and mean period after cancer-related operation of 20 months were recruited from local breast cancer help-self groups. To compare with the women without breast cancer, another 32 age-matched control were recruited from the general public. After written informed consent obtained, the participants completed the socio-demographic data sheet and the self-reported questionnaires, including the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Fatigue Assessment Scale (FAS) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).
Results: Among the women with breast cancer, 59% of them were poor sleepers (5 ≤ PSQI), 68% of them had fatigue symtoms (FAS ≥ 22), 43% of them had borderline to abnormal level of anxiety (HADS anxiety subscale 8 to 21) and 21% of them had borderline to abnormal level of depression (HADS depression subscale 8 to 21), respectively. Women with breast cancer had significantly higher mean PSQI [(mean±SD) 7.19±4.17; t = -2.67, p = 0.01)], FAS (25.97±7.32, t = -2.91, p = 0.005), HADS-anxiety subscale (6.78±3.34, t = -3.50, p = 0.001) and HADS-depression subscale (4.72±3.59, t = -2.91, p = 0.005) scores than those of the women without breast cancer. Furthermore, there were significant group differences between women with and without breast cancer in PSQI sub-scores, including sleep disturbance (t = -2.55, p = 0.013), latency (t = -2.50, p = 0.015), quality (t = -2.11, p = 0.039), and efficiency (t = -3.71, p < 0.001), but not in sleep duration (t = 1.36, p > 0.05 ), day dysfunction (t = -1.69, p > 0.05), and use of medication for sleep (t = -1.03, p > 0.05).
Conclusion: Women with breast cancer have higher levels of poor sleep, fatigue, and anxiety and depression than women without breast cancer. Further study is warranted to examine the effects of intervention aiming at improving the psychosocial health conditions among this vulnerable group.
Audeince Take Away:
- Among the middle-age women, higher proportion of those with breast cancer have disturbed sleep, fatigue, and mood disturbance than those without.
- These psychosocial problems will affect their quality of life and increase risk of cancer recurrence.
- Healthcare professionals should design and investigate the interventions to improve the psychosocial health conditions of women with breast cancer.