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Quality of life and metastatic breast cancer: the role of body image, disease site, and time since diagnosis

McClelland, S.I. , Holland, K.J. , Griggs, J.J.

Quality of Life Research, Epub ahead of print 2015 Jun 3, Article in Press,


Too little is understood about the quality of life (QoL) concerns of patients diagnosed with advanced disease. While body image has been found to be consistently important for women with early-stage breast cancer, the impact of body image on women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is less frequently studied. This cross-sectional study aimed to identify factors affecting QoL in a sample of patients diagnosed with MBC, with particular attention to body image, disease site, and time since diagnosis. Methods: In total, 113 women diagnosed with MBC completed two QoL scales (EORTC QLQ30; EORTC BR23) as part of a larger study. Clinical characteristics were obtained via medical record review. Demographics, disease characteristics, and clinical factors were examined.

Time since diagnosis and location of metastases were found to affect patients’ QoL, and most strikingly, this effect often differed for those with higher and lower body image. Body image appears to remain highly influential even for those living with a shortened life expectancy.

These findings indicate that the development of QoL support should more carefully consider patients diagnosed with MBC and the unique sets of body concerns that affect this population

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