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Living into old age with the consequences of breast cancer

Fenlon, Deborah and Frankland, J and Foster, C L and Coleman, P. and Payne, Sheila and Seymour, J. and Simmonds, P and Stephens, R and Walsh, B and Addington-Hall, J. (2012) Living into old age with the consequences of breast cancer. Journal of Cancer Survivorship. (Submitted)

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Background: Current survival rates from breast cancer are now improved with 80% likely to live 20 years. As 30% women diagnosed with breast cancer are over 70 the prevalence of breast cancer survivors living into old age is increasing. The specific needs and experiences of this group have rarely been addressed. Objective: This study was set up to explore older women’s experience of living with breast cancer alongside other health conditions and to identify their information and support needs and preferences. Interventions/Methods: Data was collected from 30 semi-structured interviews and 2 focus groups with breast cancer survivors over 70. Data was analysed using the Braun and Clark 2006 framework approach. Results: All participants were breast cancer survivors with at least one comorbid condition, aged 70-90. Thirty women participated in individual qualitative interviews and 14 in two focus groups. An important finding was that there is a group of women living into advanced old age continuing to experience the physical and emotional consequences of their cancer experience for many years. Physical issues, such as lymphoedema and reduced shoulder mobility, were important particularly in conjunction with other long term conditions, such as arthritis. Conclusions: These older women stressed that they were not a homogenous group and that their individuality and variability may be greater with a longer life rather than less. Implications for Practice: Holistic and personalized assessment of needs becomes increasingly important with age, particularly in combination with comorbidity. Assumptions cannot be made about personal preferences for treatment based on age.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Cancer Survivorship
Uncontrolled Keywords: breast cancer ; cancer survivorship ; old age ; elderly ; cancer experience ; needs
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Departments: Faculty of Health and Medicine > Health Research
ID Code: 51086
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 16 Nov 2011 12:42
Refereed?: No
Published?: Submitted
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2013 16:04
Identification Number:

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