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Relationship Between Severity of Symptoms and Quality of Life in Patients With Breast Cancer Receiving Adjuvant Hormonal Therapy

Leah Ochayon

Revital Zelker

Luna Kaduri

Ilana Kadmon

symptom alleviation, hormone therapy, quality of life
ONF 2010, 37(5), E349-E358. DOI: 10.1188/10.ONF.E349-E358

Purpose/Objectives: To describe symptoms and quality of life (QOL) of patients with breast cancer receiving adjuvant hormonal therapy and to examine possible relationships between the two measurements.

Design: Descriptive, correlational study.

Setting: An oncology clinic within a tertiary medical center in Israel.

Sample: Convenience sample of 132 patients diagnosed with primary breast cancer receiving hormonal therapy.

Methods: Data collection was conducted through the self-administered Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy endocrine subscale and a sociodemographic and medical information questionnaire.

Main Research Variables: QOL and symptoms of hormonal therapy.

Findings: Ten symptoms were categorized by more than 20% of the participants as "very much" or "quite a bit." The mean QOL score for the participants was higher than that for a healthy population, although a correlation was found between fewer symptoms and higher QOL. Mood swings and irritability were the symptoms most strongly associated with a decrease in QOL. Patients who exercised had higher QOL scores.

Conclusions: Adjuvant hormonal therapy did not affect the QOL of a majority of patients with primary breast cancer. A reduced number of symptoms indicated a higher QOL. Mood swings and irritability have a negative impact on QOL.

Implications for Nursing: A need exists to design a program to follow up on hormonal symptoms and the QOL of patients receiving hormonal therapy and to encourage patients to engage in regular exercise.

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