Quality of Life With Metastatic Disease -- Heard in the Halls: Voices From the 2016 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
Leah Eshraghi
December 10, 2016

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Leah Eshraghi, director of clinical research at the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, discusses the poster she presented on quality of life and disease collateral damage in women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

Running time: 3:05

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Leah Eshraghi: Hi. My name is Leah Eshraghi. I’m with Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, and we’re presenting our poster today on the collateral damage and quality of life of metastatic breast cancer patients. This study was done through our Health of Women Study. It’s the Quality of Life Questionnaire that included — everybody was able to fill it out. We had people without a history of breast cancer, we had people with early-stage breast cancer, and then 205 people diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. So this Quality of Life Questionnaire, again, was part of our Health of Women Study. It’s an online [epidemiology] study. Everybody is welcome to join.

We have about 10 different modules, and this quality of life module was developed to go over a lot of different aspects. So it covered health history; chronic conditions; symptoms; moods; reproductive health; activities; communication, including patient-provider communication; social; and financial. And so we had this questionnaire that we put out to the whole population of the Health of Women Study. And when we started looking at the results and analyzing everything, we looked at the overall quality of life and really saw that the metastatic breast cancer patients were the ones with the most diminished quality of life compared to the people with no history of breast cancer, but also compared to people with early-stage breast cancer.

So when you’re looking at the differences, the metastatic breast cancer patients were more likely than non-metastatic breast cancer patients to report a lot of different things. We’re talking about symptoms like digestive, and mouth, and nose, and things like that, also problems with concentration, anxiety, depression, and then problems performing daily activities. But then also not just physical things like that, but you’re looking at financial and career concerns, including difficulty with medical expenses and losing a job and not being able to pursue the career of your choice. And then also the social concerns: were looking at feeling isolated, dependent on other people, being treated differently, and all of this was just more pronounced in the metastatic breast cancer patients.

And when you’re looking at the patient-provider communication, one of the things that was interesting was that the metastatic breast cancer patients were more likely than non-metastatic breast cancer patients to perceive communication with providers as positive, helpful, and strong. So you’re seeing a little bit of a difference when you’re looking at some of those changes.

Then you’re also looking at the metastatic breast cancer participants when we talked about the symptoms and talked about these different concerns, we asked them within the questionnaire, ‘Do you think that this is related to your treatment or your disease?’ And the MBC participants were more likely than the non-[metastatic breast cancer patients] to attribute them to their breast cancer treatment.

So there’s just a lot going on there, and, basically, with all of this information, there’s a need, and a distinct need, and we were able to show that here. And so there’s a lot coming out of it and a lot of next steps, additional questionnaires, additional things going on to help increase quality of life with patients with metastatic breast cancer.

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