Concerns of former breast cancer patients about disease recurrence: a validation and prevalence study

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Abstract

Objective: The present study has three aims: first, to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Dutch version of the CARS (CARS-DLV). Second, to measure the prevalence of concerns about disease recurrence in former breast cancer patients and identify potential predictors and third, to establish how fear of recurrence was effecting quality of life.

Methods: A prospective study was carried out on breast cancer patients (n=136) who had undergone curative treatment. Eligible patients completed an extensive questionnaire consisting of the CARS (fear of recurrence), HADS (anxiety and depression), BPI (pain), RAND (quality of life), LOT (optimism) and the PCS (catastrophzing).

Results: This study confirmed the good internal consistency, test–retest stability and construct validity of the CARS (Dutch Language version). Moderate to high levels of fear of disease recurrence were found in 56% of 136 breast cancer survivors. Worries about health and death were the most prominent. Pain was a strong predictor of overall fear and of fear on the four sub domains of the CARS. The prevalence of fear decreased significantly with age. Education level, living arrangements and time since the last treatment did not predict the prevalence of overall fear. Fear of recurrence was negatively correlated with quality of life.

Conclusion: The CARS-DLV proved to be a valuable instrument to measure women's' concerns about breast cancer recurrence. More than half of former breast cancer patients indicated moderate to severe concerns about disease recurrence. Health and death worries were the most prominent. The levels of worry were independent of the time since diagnosis. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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