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Perceived Quality of Life and Coping for Swedish Women With Breast Cancer Who Choose Complementary Medicine

Carlsson, Marianne PhD; Arman, Maria RN; Backman, Marie MSc, RN; Hamrin, Elisabeth PhD, RN, BM


The aim of the present study, which is part of a major clinical controlled study of the life situation of women with breast cancer, was to compare two groups of women concerning perceived quality of life and coping. The women were treated in two different cancer treatment programs: complementary treatment, which included anthroposophic therapy, and conventional cancer treatment. A total of 120 women were included, 60 women treated with anthroposophic medicine, and 60 individually matched women treated with conventional medicine only. Quality of life was measured by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, Quality of Life Questionnaire, Core 30, and the Life Satisfaction Questionnaire. Coping was measured by the Mental Adjustment to Cancer scale. The results showed that the women who chose anthroposophic therapy perceived their quality of life to be lower on admission to the hospital and showed more anxious preoccupation than the women in conventional medicine. It can be concluded that, due to the careful matching procedure, the women in the two groups are comparable in a medical sense but not from the perspective of quality of life and coping.

From the Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Caring Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; Department of Caring Sciences, Abo Akademi University Vasa, Finland, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden; Swedish Red Cross University, College of Nursing, Stockholm, Sweden; and Department of Medicine and Care, Clinical Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Linköping, Sweden.

The main financial support (project leader E. Hamrin) was provided by the Swedish Council of the Planning and Coordination of Research (No: 950204:6) and the Swedish Cancer Society (Nos: 3684-B95-01XAB; 3684-B96-02XBB; 3684-B97-03XAA). Financial contributions have also been provided by the Gyllenberg Foundation, Finland, and the Agape Foundation, Sweden.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Marianne Carlsson, Uppsala University, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Section of Caring Sciences, Uppsala Science Park, SE-751 83 Uppsala, Sweden (e-mail:

Accepted for publication June 18, 2001.

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.