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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


SALAS ZAPATA, Carolina  and  GRISALES ROMERO, Hugo. Quality of life and associated factors in women with breast cancer in Antioquia, Colombia. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2010, vol.28, n.1, pp.9-18. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the quality of life and some associated factors in women diagnosed with breast cancer enrolled in cancer treatment programs in a Colombian province. METHODS: In a cross-sectional study, the WHOQOL BREF domains related to the quality of life of 220 women with breast cancer who were in treatment were analyzed. First, a descriptive analysis was done of the sociodemographic variables included in the study. This was followed by an analysis of the quality-of-life scores of the patients in terms of their demographic, clinical, and social characteristics. Finally, some characteristics were identified that, in combination, explained the patients' quality of life. RESULTS: The quality of life was better for women with more schooling, those who were beneficiaries of the contributory health system, those who received support from family members, those from high-income groups, and those whose personal beliefs (religious and spiritual) helped them cope with the disease. Belonging to a lower-income group and having a skeptical attitude constituted risk factors for obtaining lower quality-of-life scores. CONCLUSIONS: The quality of life of breast cancer patients was poorer, both in general and in the physical, psychological, social, and environmental domains, in those who came from more humble levels of society. Psychosocial intervention, through patient-centered methods, is proposed as a strategy that can improve patients' quality of life, especially that of lower-income women. It is necessary to strengthen strategies that enable patients to cope with the disease, relying on the moral, social, and spiritual support of their environment as the main resource.

Keywords : Breast cancer; social support; quality of life; breast neoplasms; women's health; social class; Colombia.

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