The impact of age on Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and symptoms among postmenopausal women with breast cancer receiving adjuvant chemotherapy

Maria M Browall, Karin M Ahlberg, Lars-Olof G Persson, Per O Karlsson, Ella B Danielson
Acta Oncologica 2008, 47 (2): 207-15

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Elderly women with breast cancer are often not given adjuvant chemotherapy (CT). One reason for this is that older women are believed to have more problems in tolerating side-effects of CT. The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of age on health related quality of life (HRQoL) and symptoms in postmenopausal women with breast cancer undergoing adjuvant CT.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Eighty consecutive postmenopausal patients planned for CT were invited. Seventy-five agreed to participate (age 55-77 years). The patients completed two cancer-specific HRQoL questionnaires, The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of cancer (EORTC) EORTC-QLQ-C30, the EORTC-QLQ-BR23, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) before, during, and 4 months after completion of treatment. The design was descriptional and longitudinal. Correlations were examined between age and change in HRQoL variables.

RESULTS: No significant correlations were found between age and any of the assessed HRQoL domains or symptom scales, except for dyspnoea and sexual functioning. Age was inversely correlated to change in dyspnoea from baseline through follow-up, whereas older women perceived their sexual functioning significantly lower at baseline.

CONCLUSION: The results indicate that among postmenopausal patients in the age range 55-77 years consecutively selected for adjuvant CT age was not a predictor of decreased HRQoL. This supports the argument that age should not be used in isolation in decisions about adjuvant CT for breast cancer in elderly women.

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