Body Image of Women Submitted to Breast Cancer Treatment

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Graduate Program in Collective Health, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Northeast Brazil, Brazil.

2 Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Northeast Brazil, Brazil.

3 Division of Population Research, Brazilian National Cancer Institute (INCA), Brazil.

4 Department of Collective Health, Graduate Program in Collective Health, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Northeast Brazil, Brazil.

Abstract

Background: The study of body image includes the perception of women regarding the physical appearance of
their own body. The objective of the present study was to verify the prevalence of body image dissatisfaction and its
associated factors in women submitted to breast cancer treatment. Methods: A cross-sectional study carried out with
103 female residents of the municipality of Natal (Northeast Brazil), diagnosed with breast cancer who had undergone
cancer treatment for at least 12 months prior to the study, and remained under clinical monitoring. The variable body
image was measured through the validated Body Image Scale (BIS). Socioeconomic variables and clinical history were
also collected through an individual interview with each participant. The Pearson’s chi-squared test (Fisher’s Exact)
was utilized for bivariate analysis, calculating the prevalence ratio with 95% confidence interval. Poisson regression
with robust variance was utilized for multivariate analysis. The statistical significance considered was 0.05. Results:
The prevalence of body image dissatisfaction was 74.8% CI (65%-82%). Statistically significant associations were
observed between body image and multi-professional follow-up (p=0.009) and return to employment after treatment
(p=0.022). Conclusion: It was concluded that women who reported employment after cancer treatment presented more
alterations in self-perception concerning their appearance. Patients who did not receive multi-professional follow-up
reported negative body image, evidencing the need for strategies that increase and improve healthcare, aiming to meet
the demands of this population.

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