Symptoms in long-term breast cancer survivors: A cross-sectional study in primary care

Various long-term symptoms can manifest after breast cancer treatment. This study sought to investigate whether certain symptoms are more frequent among long-term breast cancer survivors, or if they are associated with particular diagnoses or treatments. This study included 350 breast cancer survivors treated with chemo- and/or radiotherapy who were at least five years post-treatment, and 350 age and primary care physician (PCP) matched controls. All women completed a questionnaire around symptoms, underwent echocardiography, and completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Cardiovascular diseases were diagnosed from primary care records. The results indicate that intermittent claudication and appetite loss are common among breast cancer survivors and are associated with cardiac dysfunction and mood disorders. Other symptoms varied by whether the patient underwent chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy such as forgetfulness and nocturia, or underwent radiotherapy alone which was associated with dizziness.
It is essential that PCPs have a clear understanding of this issue given that they are generally responsible for long-term survivorship care and share responsibility for maximising quality of life.

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