Document Type: Research Articles
Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon.
Background: Limited data are currently available regarding the psychological well-being and quality of life of breast cancer patients after active treatment in Lebanon and the Arab region in general. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of anxiety and depression among Arab breast cancer patients and assess the quality of life with reference to socio-demographic and clinical characteristics. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among female breast cancer patients diagnosed between January 2009 and March 2014, who were recruited from the outpatient clinics of Naef K. Basile Cancer Institute at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) from November 2015 till December 2016. An interview was conducted utilizing two validated questionnaires: the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B). Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics that might predict patient quality of life were collected and summarized. Results: A total of 150 patients were interviewed (median age 53.5±10.4 years). Most were assessed 3 to 5 years (68.7%) after initial diagnosis and had undergone surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or hormonal therapy (97.3%, 79.3%, 80.7% and 86.0%, respectively). The median total HADS score was 10.0 ± 8.0, with approximately 41.3% of study participants having abnormal scores on the anxiety subscale and 24.7% on the depression subscale. Significant predictors of total HADS score were nationality and level of education (p=0.001, p=0.001 respectively; R2=0.181). Participants who were Iraqi, had stage IV disease, had a household monthly income below 1000 USD, or had received chemotherapy exhibited significantly lower total FACT-B scores, these being highly negatively correlated with total HADS scores (rs= -0.73, p=0.001). Conclusion: There is a vital need for the development of individualized interventions and psychosocial support programs tailored to the physical and psychological well-being of breast cancer patients in the Levant region.