Depression, poor QoL common in younger breast cancer survivors

February 16, 2012

Breast cancer survivors 50 years of age or younger seem to have worse quality of life and depressive symptoms than older survivors and decidedly more than age-matched members of the general population who have not had cancer, according a recent systematic literature review (JNCI. 2012;104:1-20).

Breast cancer survivors 50 years of age or younger seem to have worse quality of life and depressive symptoms than older survivors and decidedly more than age-matched members of the general population who have not had cancer, according a recent systematic literature review (JNCI. 2012;104:1-20).

Specific concerns influencing their level of stress after treatment include premature menopause, menopausal symptoms, and infertility. Weight gain and inactivity are also common among these younger women.

Researchers from California conducted a systematic review of the literature published between January 1990 and July 2010 and included 28 studies in their analysis, of which 15 were cross-sectional in design, 8 were longitudinal studies, and 5 were randomized trials.

Standardized measures of quality-of-life and depression indicated that worse outcomes were more frequent and/or severe in younger versus older breast cancer survivors and versus age-matched women without cancer.

The authors of the study point out: “Although younger women diagnosed with breast cancer are surviving longer because of advancement in treatments, the quality of their lives may be affected by premature menopause, infertility, risk of recurrence, and negative psychosocial effects.”

“A need for more longitudinal research, including efforts at intervention to manage these symptoms and adverse health outcomes, remains,”  they concluded.

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