Perceived trajectory of psychological and physical states after breast cancer: An optimistic perception


Background: In cancer research, studying the quality of life trajectory helps us understand the complaints but also the cognitive, physical, and emotional aspects that can evolve positively. Examining both the suffering and the improvements expressed by the patients facilitates their care and their recovery knowing that an optimistic perception of the future is important for adaptative functioning after cancer. Through retrospective, present and prospective measures, we sought to characterize the subjective trajectory perceived by women with breast cancer about their cognitive, emotional and physical states, as it relates to quality of life.

Methods: Nine hundred ninety women survivors of breast cancer (after curative treatments) described, on the appropriate scales, their perceived cognitive, emotional and physical states over three periods of time: from past care (i.e., retrospective analysis) to the future (i.e., projective analysis), including the present period, as a function of their treatment (chemotherapy vs. no chemotherapy) and surgery (lumpectomy vs. mastectomy) using ANCOVA.

Results: The 732 women who had received chemotherapy perceived the most significant consequences, regardless of the type of surgery (η2= .01). Moreover, all survivors expressed an optimistic perception of the change in their states in the anticipated future as a normative optimistic perception.

Conclusions: Results are discussed in terms of the benefits of specific and early interventions that enable patients to cope better with the disease and its treatments by taking into account their more or less optimistic perception of the future.