Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


UCLA study looks at life after breast cancer


UCLA study looks at quality of life of younger women after breast cancer

Very young women diagnosed with breast cancer may be more likely to have persisting physical and psychological problems years after cancer, according to a new study by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center.

In a survey of nearly 600 women who were all age 50 or younger when they first were diagnosed with breast cancer, researchers found that the majority of women report they have a good quality of life an average of six years after their diagnosis. Yet, the youngest women in the study -- those who were between 25 and 34 when they were diagnosed -- showed greater changes in energy and poorer emotional functioning than the women in the study who were older at diagnosis.

The study was published in the Nov. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

"There is a positive message here that overall function is going to be good for the majority of younger women who survive breast cancer. Yet there are subgroups who may be at more risk for problems," said Dr. Patricia Ganz, director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control at UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and lead author of the study. "The youngest women report persistent energy loss and psychological difficulties. They are a group doctors and others need to target for intervention."

Other problems include early menopause, loss of ability to have children and depression. "It is important for us to acknowledge that many symptoms and problems persist long beyond the acute phase of breast cancer treatment," Ganz said.

This is the first large, multiethnic study to have detailed descriptive information about what younger breast cancer survivors are experiencing.

"You can imagine if you get cancer at 30 years-of-age and no one else in your family has had it, and you have to go through all this treatment with uncertainty about the outcome, that there’s going to be a sort of sword of Damocles hanging over your head," Ganz said. "So that’s what these findings talk about; for these younger women especially, there are fear and vulnerability, feelings of being ’out of control’ and not being able ’to trust the world,’ even after they have successfully completed treatment."

"At first it is hard because the only thing you can focus on is getting through the treatments -- and hanging on to your life," said Cynthia Lauren, a study participant who was 37 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. "But once that is over, you begin to realize the more subtle changes and losses that come along with the diagnosis. For me, I lost my fertility, but didn’t really get to deal with it until later."

Now, 10 years after treatment, the Santa Monica resident is still learning to cope with those changes. "Sometimes, even though it is behind me now, it is still tough to get up in the morning and deal with the little aggravations of life while trying to remember and hang on to the big picture: I had cancer and I have survived."

More than 200,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 and of those, 25 percent will be women under age 50. The National Cancer Institute estimates that there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States today.

"The other thing that we examined was whether or not there were any other factors that predicted how women assessed their overall health. What we found was that women who were college graduates or had higher education perceived themselves as having better health, while women who had gone through menopause as a result of the cancer thought their health was poorer," Ganz said.

The study also supports some results seen in prior studies conducted by Ganz and her colleagues. "Previous studies suggested that African-American women reported better quality of life after breast cancer than other ethnic groups, and experienced more positive meaning from the cancer experience. The current study confirmed the earlier findings and to see those results in a second independent sample suggests it is an accurate observation," Ganz said.

UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center is composed of more than 240 cancer researchers and clinicians engaged in cancer research, prevention, detection, control and education. The center, one of the nation’s largest comprehensive cancer centers, is dedicated to promoting cancer research and applying the results to clinical situations. In 2003 the center was named the best cancer center in the Western United States by U.S. News & World Report, a ranking it has held for four consecutive years.

For more information about UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center, visit the center’s Web site at

Mary Hardin | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>