Are education and cohabitation associated with health-related quality of life and self-management during breast cancer follow-up? A longitudinal study

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Background: Oncologist-led follow-up after breast cancer (BC) is increasingly replaced with less intensive follow-up based on higher self-management, which may overburden the less resourceful patients. We examined whether socioeconomic factors measured recently after the implementation of a new follow-up program for BC patients were associated with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and self-management 12 months later. Methodology: Between January and August 2017, we invited 1773 patients in Region Zealand, Denmark, to participate in baseline and 12 months follow-up questionnaires. The patients had surgery for low- and intermediate risk BC 1–10 years prior to the survey, and they had recently been allocated to the new follow-up program of either patient-initiated follow-up, or in-person or telephone follow-up with a nurse, based on patients’ preferences. We examined associations between socioeconomic factors (education and cohabitation) at baseline and two outcomes: HRQoL (EORTC QLQ-C30 and QLQ-BR23) and self-management factors (health care provider, confidence in follow-up, contact at symptoms of concern, and self-efficacy) at 12 months follow-up. Sensitivity analyses were performed according to time since diagnosis (≤ 5 > 5 years). Furthermore, we investigated whether treatment and self-management factors modified the associations. Results: A total of 987 patients were included in the analyses. We found no statistically significant associations between socioeconomic factors and HRQoL, except in patients ≤ 5 years from diagnosis. For self-management patients with short education were more likely to report that they had not experience relevant symptoms of concern compared to those with medium/long education (OR 1.75 95% CI: 1.04; 2.95). We found no clear patterns indicating that treatment or self-management factors modified the associations between socioeconomics’ and HRQoL. Conclusion: Overall socioeconomic factors did not influence HRQoL and self-management factors except for experiencing and reporting relevant symptoms of concern. Socioeconomic factors may, however, influence HRQoL in patients within five years of diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Oncologica
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)407-413
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was supported by the Zealand University Hospital and The Danish Cancer Society.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Acta Oncologica Foundation.

    Research areas

  • Breast cancer follow-up, education and cohabitation, inequality, quality of life, self-management

ID: 367187968