Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Post-traumatic Growth in Breast Cancer Patients - a Systematic Review


Breast cancer (BC) is potentially a traumatic stressor which may be associated with negative outcomes,such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or positive changes, such as post-traumatic growth (PTG). Thisstudy aims to identify the core issues of BC related PTSD, PTG and psychological distress by interrogatingthe literature in BC survivors. We have also highlighted issues related to the assessment, diagnosis and clinicalmanagement of PTSD and PTG. The authors systematically reviewed studies published from 1985 to 2014pertaining to PTSD, psychological distress and PTG in BC survivors with particular attention paid to incidencerates and causative factors. Multiple studies intimated that women with BC have evidence of PTSD at the initialstages of diagnosis, whereas PTG develops once patients undergo treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment ofPTSD/PTG is paramount from literature review but the previously mentioned relationship between PTSD andPTG in BC patients could not be verified. It is evident from the literature that a small percentage of BC patientsexperience PTSD, while the majority experience PTG after BC diagnosis and treatment. Future research shouldinclude prospective studies focusing on high-risk patients, causative factors and the development of psychologicalinterventions.