Functional Disability in Women Submitted to Breast Cancer Treatment

Document Type : Research Articles


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

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

3 State University of Rio Grande do Norte (UERN), Northeast Brazil.

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


The objective of the study presented herein was to verify the prevalence of functional disability and its associated factors in women submitted to breast cancer treatment. A cross-sectional study was carried out, in 101 women diagnosed with malignant breast cancer neoplasm, who underwent cancer treatment at least 12 months before the study, and remained under clinical monitoring. Functional disability was measured by the DASH instrument. Data collection included variables related to socioeconomic characteristics, life habits, health conditions, clinical tumor characteristics and therapeutic approach. Bivariate analysis was carried out by Pearson’s chi-square test or Fisher’s exact test, calculating the prevalence ratio with a 95% confidence interval. Multivariate analysis utilized Poisson’s Regression with robust variance. A statistical significance of 0.05 was considered. Prevalence of functional disability in the studied sample was 22.8% (CI95% 13.9-31.6). Functional disability was statistically significantly associated with age (p = 0.035) and access to health services (p = 0.028). It was concluded that younger patients suffered higher impact of breast cancer treatment on disability. Regarding access to health services, women that received public clinical monitoring reported higher occurrences of functional disability. This pointed towards the necessity of more organized, less bureaucratic, and effective health services in the assistance network, directed to the minimization of the impacts of cancer treatment on health and life conditions of breast cancer survivors.