Patients' experiences following breast cancer treatment: an exploratory survey of personal and work experiences of breast cancer patients from three European countries.
Braybrooke JP., Mimoun S., Zarca D., Elia D., Pinder B., Lloyd AJ., Breheny K., Lomazzi M., Borisch B.
Improved treatments for early breast cancer have led to a significant increase in overall survival. While evidence regarding potential long-term sequelae of adjuvant treatments exists, relatively little research reports patients' own perceptions of change before and after adjuvant chemotherapy (AC). This study aimed to identify key ongoing issues associated with AC in daily life. An online survey developed for this study was completed by 198 women (mean age 49.7 years) in the UK, France and Germany who had AC 1-5 years previously for oestrogen receptor positive, HER2 negative early breast cancer. Women without AC and endocrine therapy, those treated with Trastuzumab or who had recurrent disease were excluded. A third of women who responded were currently unable to perform their former family role. The majority had needed support, particularly with child care, during treatment. While 54% were in full-time employment before diagnosis this had reduced to 32% following AC. Of those women still working, over half reported difficulties with tiredness or concentration. Most (85.8%) were satisfied with healthcare professionals' treatment information, but only 29.7% received information about returning to work. This exploratory survey highlights areas of women's lives affected 1-5 years following AC for early breast cancer. The impact on returning to work and issues surrounding childcare particularly, require further study.