A new study recently published in a leading oncology journal, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and
led by Dr. Pamela Goodwin, Senior Investigator at Mount Sinai Hospital's Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, has found that long-term breast cancer survivors had no significant differences in their quality of life compared with women with no history of breast cancer.
The study looked at changes in quality of life from diagnosis to long-term survivorship. Factors such as pain, fatigue and overall quality of life were measured when patients were diagnosed with breast cancer, one year post-diagnosis and on average 12.5 years post-diagnosis. Although breast cancer diagnosis and treatment adversely impacts quality of life in the short term, researchers found that patients showed clinically significant improvements in a number of categories between diagnosis and long-term follow-up. Reassuringly, the quality of life reported by long term survivors was not significantly difference from that reported by women who had never been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“We were pleased to see that many areas of quality of life improve over time in long-term breast cancer survivors and that they will have similar qualities of life compared to women with no history of cancer,” says Dr. Pamela Goodwin, who is also Director of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre. "The study substantiates the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to supporting breast cancer patients from diagnosis and treatment to recovery. As part of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre, patients receive individualized transition care plans that cover follow-up care, and they have access to resources for emotional and psychological support and recommendations for general health and wellness.”
The widespread use of screening and development of more effective treatments has been associated with improving breast cancer survival rates and as a result, there has been a focus on quality of life of breast cancer survivors. While many studies have looked at quality of life in the immediate period following diagnosis, this study is one of the first to look at changes in quality of life from diagnosis to long-term survivorship.
- The Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre was the first dedicated multi-disciplinary breast centre in Canada and today sees approximately 33,000 patient visits annually.
- One in nine Canadian women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime (source: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation).
- The estimated five-year relative survival rate for breast cancer is 88% (source: The Canadian Cancer Society, 2006-2008).