Share this article on:

Health-Related Quality of Life of African American Breast Cancer Survivors Compared With Healthy African American Women

Von Ah, Diane M. PhD, RN; Russell, Kathleen M. PhD, RN; Carpenter, Janet PhD, RN, FAAN; Monahan, Patrick O. PhD; Qianqian, Zhao MS; Tallman, Eileen BS; Ziner, Kim Wagler PhD; Storniolo, Anna Maria MD; Miller, Kathy D. MD; Giesler, R. Brian PhD; Haase, Joan PhD, RN, FAAN; Otte, Julie PhD, RN; Champion, Victoria L. PhD, RN, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e3182393de3

Background: The diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer can result in an array of late cancer-specific side effects and changes in general well-being. Research has focused on white samples, limiting our understanding of the unique health-related quality of life outcomes of African American breast cancer survivors (BCSs). Even when African American BCSs have been targeted, research is limited by small samples and failure to include comparisons of peers without a history of breast cancer.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare health-related quality of life of African American female BCSs with that of African American women with no history of breast cancer (control group).

Methods: A total of 140 women (62 BCSs and 78 controls), 18 years or older and 2 to 10 years postdiagnosis, were recruited from a breast cancer clinic and cancer support groups. Participants provided informed consent and completed a 1-time survey based on the proximal-distal health-related quality of life model of Brenner et al (1995).

Results: After adjusting for age, education, income, and body mass index, results show that African American BCSs experienced more fatigue (P = .001), worse hot flashes (P < .001), and worse sleep quality (P < .001) but more social support from their partner (P = .028) and more positive change (P = .001) compared with African American female controls.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that African American female BCSs may experience unique health-related outcomes that transcend age, education, socioeconomic status, and body mass index.

Implications for Practice: Findings suggest the importance of understanding the survivorship experience for particular racial and ethnic subgroups to proactively assess difficulties and plan interventions.

Author Affiliations: School of Nursing (Drs Von Ah, Russell, Carpenter, Ziner, Haase, Otte, and Champion and Ms Tallman), Department of Biostatistics (Dr Monahan and Ms Qianqian), and Department of Medicine, School of Medicine (Drs Storniolo and Miller), Indiana University; and Department of Psychology, Butler University (Dr Giesler), Indianapolis, Indiana.

This research was supported by grant R03-CA97737 from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute, Mary Margaret Walther Program, Walther Cancer Institute, and grant 64194 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Nurse Faculty Scholar Award (primary investigator: Dr Von Ah).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Diane M. Von Ah, PhD, RN, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, 1111 Middle Dr, NU470, Indianapolis, IN 46202 (

Accepted for publication September 22, 2011.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.