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Quality of Life and Symptom Experience in Breast Cancer Survivors After Participating in a Psychoeducational Support Program: A Pilot Study

Park, Jin-Hee PhD, RN; Bae, Sun Hyoung MSN, RN; Jung, Yong Sik MD, PhD; Kim, Ku Sang MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e318218266a
Articles: Online Only

Background: Post-treatment survivorship has not been extensively studied, despite long-standing evidence that after breast cancer treatment, women need continuing support to deal with their physical and psychosocial concerns.

Objective: The purpose of this experimental pilot study was to examine the quality of life (QOL) and symptom outcomes of a psychoeducational support program for women in the first year of post–breast cancer treatment survivorship.

Methods: The sample consisted of 48 female breast cancer survivors randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 25) and control group (n = 23). The psychoeducational support program consisted of individual face-to-face education, telephone-delivered health-coaching sessions, and small-group meetings. Study instruments were the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale–Short Form and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Breast questionnaire.

Results: Compared with the control group, survivors in the intervention group reported higher QOL overall and higher emotional well-being. The intervention group reported lower psychological symptom distress than the control group.

Conclusions: A psychoeducational support program may promote a better overall QOL and symptom experience in transition to survivorship among female breast cancer survivors.

Implications for Practice: Oncology nurses are in a position to provide education and support to assist breast cancer survivors in managing their symptoms and adjusting to life after primary treatment. Research to determine optimal strategies to improve breast cancer survivors’ overall health and QOL is needed.

Author Affiliations: College of Nursing (Dr Park) and School of Medicine (Drs Jung and Kim), Ajou University, Suwon, Gyeonggi-Do; College of Nursing, Yonsei University, Seoul (Ms Bae), Republic of Korea.

This work was supported by the Korea Research Foundation grant funded by the Korean Government (MOEHRD) (KRF-2008- 331-E00405).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Sun Hyoung Bae, MSN, RN, College of Nursing, Ajou University, Yongtong-Gu, Woncheon-Dong, San 5, Suwon, Gyeonggi-Do 443-210, Republic of Korea (baega7695@hanmail.net).

Accepted for publication February 26, 2011.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.