Quality of life in breast cancer

Betty R. Ferrell, Marcia Grant, Brandi Funk, Nellie Garcia, Shirley Otis-Green, Michelle L.J. Schaffner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Purpose: Currently, 1,721,700 women are living with breast cancer in the United States. As the number of survivors of breast cancer continues to rise, so must our knowledge about unique quality-of-life concerns. This article reports the results of a study on quality of life in women with breast cancer and validates the model of quality of life in this population. Description of study: To explore these concerns and to validate a breast cancer quality-of-life model, 21 survivors of breast cancer, across three age strata (younger than 40 years, 40 to 60 years, and older than 60 years), were interviewed and asked to complete quantitative surveys on pain and quality of life. Results: Across all age groups, unique issues of survivorship include those related to physical, psychological, social, and spiritual wellbeing. In the domain of physical well-being, the areas of worst outcome were in menstrual changes and fertility, fatigue, and pain. In the domain of psychological well-being, predominant needs were in the areas of fear of the spread of cancer, distress from surgery, recurrence, fear of second cancer, impact on self-concept, and fear of future tests. The social well-being subscale identified the greatest disruption in the area of family distress. The spiritual well-being subscale showed greatest disruption in the area of uncertainty, although other aspects of this domain were usually rated in a positive direction (e.g., importance of religious activities). Clinical implications: The data demonstrated the need for further research, assessment, and intervention across each of the quality-of-life domains. There is a significant need to address physical problems; however, the psychological domain demonstrated the greatest area of distress. The multidimensional needs of breast cancer survivors emphasize the need for multidisciplinary collaboration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-340
Number of pages10
JournalCancer practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 1996


  • breast cancer
  • cancer survivorship
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Oncology


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