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Keywords:

  • metastatic breast cancer;
  • quality of life;
  • symptoms;
  • physical functioning;
  • spirituality

Quality of life among advanced breast cancer patients with and without distant metastasis

This study presents the results of a secondary analysis of data collected during a trial of reflexology that aimed to improve health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among women with advanced breast cancer in treatment. A comparison of HRQOL (functioning, symptoms, spirituality) of those with (n = 298) and without (n = 87) distant metastasis is presented. Following the intake interview, 385 women were randomised to reflexology, lay foot manipulation or conventional care control, and were interviewed again at weeks 5 and 11. Those with distant metastasis were older, had fewer comorbid conditions, and a smaller proportion were employed. Longitudinal analysis of HRQOL at intake, 5 and 11 weeks revealed that those with distant metastasis had lower functioning and more pain; however, no differences were found on fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, sleep quality, anxiety, depressive symptoms or spirituality. Despite advanced disease, 56% of all women in this study were below the clinical screening cut-off for depressive symptoms. These findings may indicate that patients with advanced breast cancer have adapted emotionally and spiritually; however, the management of physical symptoms remains a priority.