Breast cancer: Effects on social and professional life underestimated?

Breast cancer has a greater impact on the quality of life and work of those affected than previously assumed,as found by an ongoing study focused on women with breast cancer during therapy.

New findings from the MONALEESA-7 study

Breast cancer has a greater impact on the quality of life and work of those affected than previously assumed, This is shown by a current study that examined women with breast cancer during therapy. The results were presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting 2021.

A total of 672 premenopausal women with advanced breast cancer (hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative) were included in the international MONALEESA-7 and examined for the first time during therapy with regard to various physical, psychological and social factors. 

Assessment of the occupational and social situation

Two established scores were used to record the parameters:

The questions assess the physical, cognitive, emotional and role function of the participants, as well as other parameters such as pain, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, global health status and quality of life. 

EORTC and WPAI-GH data from all women who were occupationally active at any time during ML-7 were analysed. This applied to 329 of a total of 672 female patients. 

Numerous parameters determine work productivity

The results of the study show that the loss of work productivity correlates negatively with the general health of the breast cancer patients. For example, a 10-point increase in general health status was associated with an estimated 7.8% mean decrease in loss of work productivity.

The physical, role, social and emotional functioning of those affected is also negatively affected by the disease. The situation is different for fatigue and pain. In detail, the results show the following correlations (p<0.001 in each case, 95% confidence interval in parentheses):

The results show that breast cancer has a negative impact on quality of life through many different factors and also affects the professional situation of those affected.

ASCO Annual Meeting 2021, Poster "Correlation between work productivity loss (WPL) and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ-C30) domains from the MONALEESA-7 (ML-7) trial of premenopausal women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer (ABC)".