Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Psychosocial and supportive care concerns of young women living with advanced breast cancer: baseline findings from a prospective virtual support intervention study.

PURPOSE: Adolescent and young adults (AYAs) with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) experience high physical and psychosocial burdens compounded by a disrupted life trajectory. We sought to determine the psychosocial and supportive care concerns of this population to better understand and address unmet needs.

METHODS: AYAs diagnosed with MBC (18-39 years) participating in a prospective interventional study (Young, Empowered, and Strong) at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute completed an electronic survey following enrollment. Measures evaluated sociodemographics, health behaviors, quality of life, and symptoms, among others. We used two-sided Fisher's exact tests to determine associations between concerns (e.g., cancer progression, side effects, lifestyle, finances, fertility) and demographic variables.

RESULTS: Among 77 participants enrolled from 9/2020-12/2022, average age at MBC diagnosis and survey was 35.9 (range: 22-39) and 38.3 years (range: 27-46), respectively. Most were non-Hispanic white (83.8%) and 40.3% reported their diagnosis caused some financial problems. Many were concerned about fertility (27.0%), long-term treatment side effects (67.6%), exercise (61.6%), and diet (54.1%). Select concerns varied significantly by age, race/ethnicity, and education. Younger women at survey reported greater concern about familial cancer risk (p = 0.028). Women from minority racial/ethnic groups more frequently reported issues talking about their cancer to family/friends (p = 0.040) while those with more education were more frequently concerned with long-term effects of cancer on their health (p = 0.021).

CONCLUSION: Young women living with MBC frequently report psychosocial, health, and cancer management concerns. Tailoring supportive care and communications to address prevalent concerns including disease progression and treatment side effects may optimize wellbeing.

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