Breast cancer (BC) may affect the ability to work. In this study, we want to identify any associations between cognitive, psychosocial, somatic and treatment factors with time to return to work (RTW) among women treated for BC.
At eight (baseline) and 11(follow-up) months after BC diagnosis, women who had received adjuvant treatment for early BC at Stockholm South General Hospital completed the Headminder neuropsychological tests to obtain the Cognitive Stability Index (CSI), the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire and its Breast Cancer Module. At both time points, we compared the scores from women who had returned to work with those who had not. We also reviewed the medical certificates of women still on sick leave at 8, 11 and 18 months after diagnosis to determine why they had not returned to work.
At baseline, 29 of 45 enroled women were working and 15 were not (one dropped out after baseline testing). The 14 women still not working 11 months after BC diagnosis had more advanced BC (OR = 3.64, 95% CI 2.01-7.31), lymph-node involvement (OR = 18.80, 95% CI 5.32-90.69) and Her 2-positive tumours (OR = 10.42,95% CI 2.19-65.32) than did working women. None of the scores for the four cognitive domains changed significantly at follow-up in either group. Comments on the medical certificates generally supported these findings. Independently of any adjuvant cancer therapy, overall quality of life improved and most women did RTW 18 months after BC diagnosis.
Chemotherapy is associated with longer periods of sick leave. Cognitive functions do not predict RTW. Independently of any adjuvant therapy, most women eventually RTW in a few months. The ability to predict RTW after BC treatment should help prepare higher-risk patients for delayed RTW and allow earlier interventions to restore their social relations and quality of life.
Lymphoedema may cause complex problems that can strongly influence patients' health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The main purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of lymphoedema on HRQoL in patients with varying forms of lymphoedema.
The Lymphoedema Quality of Life Inventory (LyQLI), measuring three domains, physical, psychosocial and practical, and the Short Form 36 Health Survey Questionnaire (SF-36), measuring eight health domains, were sent to 200 lymphoedema patients. Out of those who answered both questionnaires, 88 patients had lymphoedema secondary to cancer treatment and they additionally received the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Scale-General (FACT-G). The relation between continuous variables and the three domains were analysed by Spearman's correlation coefficients, and Kruskal-Wallis test was used to analyse categorical variables.
Altogether 129 patients completed the LyQLI and SF-36 and 79 of them also completed FACT-G. Twenty per cent had a high mean score (=2.0) in at least one domain of the LyQLI, thus having a low HRQoL. Lower HRQoL was found in the practical domain of LyQLI in patients with lower limb lymphoedema compared to patient with lymphoedema in upper limb or head/neck (p = 0.002) and in patients working part-time compared to patients working full-time (p = 0.005). The impact on HRQoL tended to decrease with age, with a significant correlation in the psychosocial domain (rs = 0.194, p = 0.028). Compared with the general Swedish population, patients with lymphoedema scored significantly lower in general health (p = 0.006), vitality (p = 0.002) and social functioning (p = 0.025) assessed by the SF-36. From a cancer-specific view, HRQoL was similar to other Swedish studies using the FACT-G.
This study indicates that about 20% of the patients with lymphoedema had major impact on their HRQoL. More effort and research is needed to identify, understand and support groups of patients with severe lymphoedema-related problems.
PURPOSE: To investigate how breast cancer patients referred to in-patient rehabilitation at Mösseberg Rehabilitation Centre (MRC) in Sweden perceive their life situation, and if their life satisfaction and mental health have changed three months later. METHOD: This prospective study is based on 46 women, all of them in working age. Three validated questionnaires were used, the Life Satisfaction (Li-Sat 11) scale, the Maastricht Questionnaire and the Shirom-Melamed Burnout Questionnaire (SMBQ). RESULTS: Statistically significant improvements for the variables physical and mental health were seen in the measurements made using the Li-Sat 11 scale. The SMBQ survey showed a statistically significant improvement in the composite results for the indices involved. Likewise, the Maastricht Questionnaire showed statistically significant improvements in health status with respect to feelings of exhaustion and fatigue. CONCLUSION: More effective treatments have resulted in an increase in the number of breast cancer survivors and in the demand for rehabilitation. This study shows improvements in health and satisfaction with health, but cannot conclude this result as only an effect of the rehabilitation programme. Since only a few studies have until now shed light on the benefits of in-patient rehabilitation following a breast cancer diagnosis, there is an urgent need for continued research in this area.