Long-term quality of life in premenopausal women with node-negative localized breast cancer treated with or without adjuvant chemotherapy.

Research paper by F F Joly, M M Espié, M M Marty, J F JF Héron, M M Henry-Amar

Indexed on: 17 Aug '00Published on: 17 Aug '00Published in: British Journal of Cancer


Our purpose was to evaluate the late physical and psychosocial difficulties of premenpausal patients treated for a localized breast cancer and to weigh the impact of chemotherapy on long-term quality of life. Two self-administered questionnaires, the EORTC core QLQ-C30 and the breast module (BR23) were mailed to 179 premenopausal node-negative women continuously disease-free, previously enrolled in a trial testing the efficacy of adjuvant CMF chemotherapy (Espié et al, 1997). The core questionnaire evaluates the physical, role, emotional, cognitive and social functioning and global health status. The breast module includes four functional scales: body image, sexual functioning, sexual enjoyment and future perspective. It also includes symptom scales such as arm or breast symptoms. Some specific professional and social states were added. 119 (68%) patients (mean age 54 years, range 30-69) participated. Mean follow-up time since diagnosis was 9.6 years (4-16). 68% had conservative and 32% radical surgery (with reconstructive surgery in 50%). CMF was given to 77 (65%) patients. Irradiation was administered in 75% of patients irrespective of adjuvant therapy. QLQ-C30 scale scores were similar in patients who had or had not received chemotherapy. Disturbance in body image, sex life and breast symptoms did not differ between patients who had or had not received adjuvant CMF. No major socioprofessional difficulties were reported except problems in borrowing from banks not related to past chemotherapy. With long follow-up, most premenopausal women treated for a localized breast cancer cope with the disease and its treatments. Adjuvant CMF chemotherapy does not appear to impair quality of life nor social and professional life in these patients.