New research presented at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium has shown that women with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) are more likely to seek out information about their specific subtype and experience more fear, anxiety, and worry than women with other subtypes of breast cancer,
New research presented at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium has shown that women with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) are more likely to seek out information about their specific subtype and experience more fear, anxiety, and worry than women with other subtypes of breast cancer, according to a study conducted by Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC).
This study, which is the first of its kind, analyzed the results of an 80-question survey that was completed by over 2500 breast cancer patients.
The survey was used to help identify education, information, and support needs and asked responders a variety of questions about themselves, their disease type, their living situation, and their emotions before, during, and after treatment.
Responses of 656 women with TNBC (25.1%) were compared with 1954 women not in this subset (74.9%), and logistic regression was used to assess differences in information-tailoring preferences between TNBC and non-TNBC women.
Researchers found that when compared with women who did not have TNBC, women with TNBC had a significantly stronger preference for information tailored to breast cancer subtype (71% vs 49%) and to race/ethnicity (5% vs 2%). However, women with TNBC had a significantly lesser preference for seeking information based on cancer stage (43% vs 47%) and living situation (15% vs 25%).1
The researchers noted that the difference in preference for racial/ethnic tailoring between TNBC and non-TNBC participants might be due to the overall low proportion of nonwhite respondents to the survey (18.4%) and the higher proportion of nonwhites in the TNBC group (18% vs 11%).
“Women with triple-negative breast cancers are information seekers,” LBBC chief executive officer Jean A. Sachs, MSS, MLSP, said in a statement, “as we can see from the thousands of interactions we have with them via LBBC-sponsored webinars, community meetings, conference workshops, and first-person blogs on LBBC’s website. And they’re frustrated that they don’t have more treatment options.”
When researchers looked at the emotional and psychological needs of patients with TNBC, they found that these women reported more fear, anxiety, and worry than women who did not have TNBC, although the finding was only statistically significant for fear and anxiety at diagnosis (high fear: 67% vs 62%; high anxiety: 68% vs 64%, respectively).2
Additionally, women with TNBC were significantly less likely than non-TNBC patients to report a decrease in negative emotion between treatment and post-treatment (fear: 58% vs 66%; anxiety: 54% vs 65%; worry: 53% vs 63).
Women with TNBC were also less likely to report a decrease and more likely to report an increase in worry if they had young children (decrease: 61% vs 70%; increase 8% vs 4%) and were less likely to report a decrease and more likely to report an increase in fear if they made less than $50,000 a year (decrease: 47.3% vs 68%, increase 11% vs 6%).
“Most strikingly, cancer stage was the strongest modifier of emotional change,” the authors concluded. “TNBC women at cancer stage ≥2 showed the least decline in negative emotion compared to corresponding non-TNBC women. These data support the development of TNBC-specific interventions focused on these patients’ emotional needs during and after treatment.”
“As research moves forward on finding new treatments for triple-negative breast cancers, LBBC is committed to supporting the psychosocial and educational needs of people now in treatment and those beyond,” Sachs said. “Improving the quality of life for people with TNBC by documenting their needs is the focus of our efforts.”