Publication Abstract

Authors: Kåresen R, Langmark F

Title: [Psychological, social and economic situation of women surgically treated for cancer].

Journal: Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen 120(23):2741-8

Date: 2000 Sep 30

Abstract: INTRODUCTION: As part of an international effort, a study of the psychosocial condition of women with cancer in Norway was performed in 1997. MATERIAL AND METHODS: 851 women with breast or gynaecological cancer in 27 Norwegian hospitals were asked to fill in a multi-choice questionnaire. RESULTS: 76% of the breast cancers were detected by the women themselves, 19% by mammography and 11% by clinical examination. Similar numbers for gynaecological cancer were 59% by the women and 41% by the doctors (13% screening smear). 25% of the women were informed about the cancer diagnosis by telephone and 9% by letter. 87% were satisfied with treatment and care, 7% dissatisfied. 62% were satisfied with the availability of doctors, 20% not. In 47% of the breast cases, therapy alternatives were discussed with the patients. In 23% of gynaecological, 50% of breast, and 72% of gynaecological cancer, patients had no wish to participate in the decision. 94 of a total of 850 patients (11%) experienced financial problems after the diagnosis had been established. More than 90% of the women had a better or unchanged relation to their partner, family and friends after treatment. However, 30% of the breast and 14% of the gynaecological cancer patients had problems with their body image, and 16% and 15% felt they were less sexually attractive. 89% felt their partner coped well with the situation, 9% had problems and only 2% lost their partner. 32% of the patients had used alternative medicine, 44% of those with recurrence and 28% under primary treatment. INTERPRETATION: Women operated for breast and gynaecological cancer face a variety of psychosocial and financial problems.