Quality of Life among Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Treatment in National Cancer Centers in Nepal


Purpose: To study the quality of life and to identify associated factors among breast cancer patients undergoingtreatment in national cancer centers in Nepal. Materials and
Methods: One hundred breast cancer patients wereselected and interviewed using a structured questionnaire. European Organization of Research and Treatmentof Cancer EORTC-QLQ-C30 and EORTC-QLQ-BR23 were used to assess quality of life and modified MedicalOutcome Study -Social Support survey(mMOS-SS) was used to assess social support. Only multi-item scales ofEORTC C30 and BR23 were analyzed for relationships. Independent sample T-tests and ANOVA were appliedto analyze differences in mean scores.
Results: The score of global health status/quality of life (GHS/GQoL) wasmarginally above average (mean=52.8). The worst performed scales in C-30 were emotional and social functionwhile best performed scales were physical and role function. In BR-23, most of the patients fell into the problematicgroup regarding sexual function and enjoyment. Almost 90% had financial difficulties. Symptom scales did notdemonstrate many problems. Older individuals, patients with stage I breast cancer and thosewith good socialsupport were found to have good GHS/GQoL. Of all the influencing factors, social support was established tohave strong statistical associations with most of the functional scales: GHS/GQoL (0.003), emotional function(<0.001), cognitive function (0.020), social function (<0.001) and body image function (0.011). Body image wassignificantly associated with most of the influencing factors: monthly family income (0.003), type of treatment(<0.001), type of surgery (<0.001), stage of cancer (0.017) and social support (0.011).
Conclusions: Strategies toimprove social support of the patients undergoing treatment should be given priority and financial difficultiesfaced by breast cancer patients should be well addressed from a policy making level by initiating health financingsystem.