Worry about cancer progression and low perceived social support: Implications for quality of life among early-stage breast cancer patients

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Abstract

Background: Worry about cancer progression and perceived social support can affect cancer survivors' quality of life (QOL). Methods: In 480 early-stage breast cancer survivors, we examined how worry about cancer progression and perceived social support 6 months after definitive surgery were associated with QOL (RAND 36-item Health Survey) at 6-, 12-, and 24-month follow-up. Results: At 6 months post-surgery, higher worry was associated with worse QOL for five of eight subscales. Lower social support was associated with worse QOL for four subscales. The negative effects of worry and limited social support dissipated for four subscales (worry) and two subscales (social support) by 12-month follow-up and for all subscales by 24-month follow-up. Social support at 6 months moderated the relationship between T2 worry and T4 emotional well-being; post hoc tests did not clarify the nature of the interaction. Conclusion: Early-stage breast cancer survivors who worry about cancer progression and/or have low social support may experience lower levels of QOL that can take several months to resolve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-68
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Progression
  • Quality of life
  • Social support
  • Worry

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