Over the past several decades, the incidence of prolonged survival after a diagnosis of cancer has increased; however, little is known regarding the long-term health profiles of cancer survivors in general and of breast cancer survivors in particular. To obtain more information concerning the consequences of surviving breast cancer, the authors conducted a large-scale health survey of patients who had been treated for the disease at their institution.
A descriptive analysis of information was provided by cancer survivors. Of the breast cancer survivors who were studied, 695 women were age <45 years, 580 women were between ages 46 years and 54 years, and 655 women were age > 55 years at the time of diagnosis. Their medical and psychosocial responses were analyzed and compared with those of age-matched responders in a national survey.
Younger breast cancer survivors received chemotherapy more often than older survivors and were more likely to report memory loss and that cancer had affected their overall health adversely. Several other differences in physiologic and psychosocial characteristics, such as interpersonal relationships, also emerged.
Physiologic and psychosocial differences distinguished younger breast cancer survivors from older breast cancer survivors. The findings of this study suggested that a systematic analysis of cancer survivors is needed to understand their unique health profiles and needs. Cancer 2006. © 2006 American Cancer Society.