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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
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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