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A cohort study of quality of life in partners of young breast cancer survivors compared to partners of healthy controls.

Cohee A, Storey S, Winger JG, Cella D, Stump T, Monahan PO, Champion VL. A cohort study of quality of life in partners of young breast cancer survivors compared to partners of healthy controls. Journal of patient-reported outcomes. 2020 Mar 6; 4(1):19.

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BACKGROUND: Partners of young breast cancer survivors (BCS) are at increased risk for deficits in quality of life (QoL). To intervene effectively, it is important to understand how the breast cancer experience impacts partners. The purpose of this study was to compare QoL between partners of young BCS and partners of healthy acquaintance controls. METHODS: Partners of young BCS (3-8?years post treatment and? = 45?years old at diagnosis) and partners of age-matched healthy acquaintance controls completed questionnaires on overall, physical (physical function, sexual difficulty), social (personal resources, sexual enjoyment, marital satisfaction, partner social support, social constraints, parenting satisfaction), psychological (depressive symptoms), and spiritual (behaviors, beliefs, and activities) QoL. Analyses included descriptive statistics and one-way ANOVA to compare partner groups on all study variables. RESULTS: Although partners of young BCS (n  = 227) reported fewer social constraints (p  < .001), they reported lower overall QoL (p? < .001), fewer personal resources (p? < .001), more sexual difficulty (p  = .019), less sexual enjoyment (p  = .002), less marital satisfaction (p? = .019), more depressive symptoms (p  = .024), and fewer spiritual behaviors (p  < .001), beliefs (p  = .001) and activities (p  = .003) compared to partners of healthy acquaintance controls (n  = 170). Additional analysis showed that perceptions that the relationship changed for the better since cancer, social constraints, partner social support, and depression predicted marital satisfaction among partners of young BCS. CONCLUSIONS: Partners of young BCS are at risk for poorer overall, physical, social, psychological, and spiritual QoL compared to partners of healthy women. Interventions targeting QoL domains may enable partners to effectively support their partner and improve their QoL.

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