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Managing psychosocial issues faced by young women with breast cancer at the time of diagnosis and during active treatment

Fernandes-Taylor, Sara; Adesoye, Taiwo; Bloom, Joan R.

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: September 2015 - Volume 9 - Issue 3 - p 279–284
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000161
BREAST CANCER IN YOUNG WOMEN: CHALLENGES, PROGRESS, AND BARRIERS Edited by Ellen Warner and Shani Paluch-Shimon
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Purpose of review This review examines recent literature on the psychosocial needs of and interventions for young women. We focus on the active treatment period given the toxicity of treatment, the incidence of anxiety, and depressive symptoms in these women during treatment. This review summarizes research relevant to addressing their social and emotional concerns.

Recent findings Young women undergoing treatment for breast cancer remain understudied despite unique needs. Psychoeducational interventions help to relieve symptoms and emotional distress during treatment, but effects do not appear to persist over the longer term. In the clinical context, the performance of prognostic-risk prediction models in this population is poor. Surgical decision-making is often driven by fear of recurrence and body image rather than prognosis, and decision aids may help young women to synthesize information to preserve their role in the treatment process.

Summary First, shared decision-making, second, balancing body image, fear of recurrence, and recommended treatment, and third, palliative care for metastasis are essential research priorities for the clinical setting. In the larger social context, unique family/partner dynamics as well as financial and insurance concerns warrant particular attention in this population.

aWisconsin Surgical Outcomes Research Program, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

bSchool of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA

Correspondence to Sara Fernandes-Taylor, PhD, 600 Highland Avenue K6/140 CSC, Madison, WI 53792, USA. Tel: +1 310 963 6258; e-mail: fernandes-taylor@surgery.wisc.edu

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