Differences in quality-of-life outcomes after different surgical breast cancer treatment options, including breast reconstruction, are relevant for counseling individual patients in clinical decision-making, and for (societal) evaluations such as cost-effectiveness analyses. However, current literature shows contradictory results, because of use of different patient-reported outcome measures and study designs with limited patient numbers. The authors set out to improve this evidence using patient-reported outcome measures in a large, cross-sectional study for different surgical breast cancer treatment options.
Quality of life was assessed through the EQ-5D-5L, European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaires C30 and BR23, and the BREAST-Q. Patients with different treatments were compared after propensity-weighted adjustment of pretreatment differences. The EQ-5D was used to value the effect of surgical complications.
A total of 1871 breast cancer patients participated (breast-conserving surgery, n = 615; mastectomy, n = 507; autologous reconstruction, n = 330; and implant-based reconstruction, n = 419). Mastectomy patients reported the lowest EQ-5D score (mastectomy, 0.805, breast-conserving surgery, 0.844; autologous reconstruction, 0.849; and implant-based reconstruction, 0.850) and functioning scores of the C30 questionnaire. On the BREAST-Q, autologous reconstruction patients had higher mean Satisfaction with Outcome, Satisfaction with Breasts, and Sexual Well-being scores than implant-based reconstruction patients. Complications in autologous reconstruction patients resulted in a substantially lower quality of life than in implant-based reconstruction patients.
This study shows the added value of breast conservation and reconstruction compared with mastectomy; however, differences among breast-conserving surgery, implant-based reconstruction, and autologous breast reconstruction were subtle. Complications resulted in poorer health-related quality of life.