Introduction. Breast cancer affects over 200,000 women each year; however, with earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment, patients are living longer, even in the presence of metastatic disease. Current estimates place patients with breast cancer as the largest population of cancer survivors in the United States. Given the successes in treatment, quality of life (QOL) of breast cancer survivors has become a more important consideration.
Aim. The aim of this study is to examine QOL throughout the cancer journey.
Methods. The cancer journey will be conceptualized across disease states.
Main Outcome Measures. Understanding of the longitudinal journey associated with dynamic changes in physical, mental, and psychosocial spheres that occur with cancer, cancer treatment, and the sequelae of both. Conceptualization of changes is shown through the QOL as the survivor moves through the phases of cancer.
Results. QOL is not a static concept, and breast cancer survivors undergo dynamic changes in QOL starting at diagnosis, as they progress through treatment and enter posttreatment. Some domains that make up QOL (i.e., sexual functioning and role functioning) can show persistent detriments related to cancer and its treatment.
Conclusions. In this article, we will provide a snapshot of some research performed to better understand the QOL of breast cancer survivors using a disease states model of breast cancer. Gao J and Dizon DS. Preparing for survivorship: quality of life in breast cancer survivors. J Sex Med 2013;10(suppl 1):16–20.