Health-related quality of life in long-term breast cancer survivors: nationwide survey in Denmark

Vera Peuckmann, Ola Ekholm, Niels Kristian Rasmussen, Susanne Møller, Mogens Groenvold, Peer Christiansen, Jørgen Eriksen, Per Sjøgren


AIM: To investigate health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in a nationally representative sample of long-term breast cancer survivors (BCS) in Denmark.

PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: An age-stratified random sample of 2,000 female BCS > or = 5 years after primary surgery without recurrence was drawn from the Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Group register, which is representative regarding long-term BCS in Denmark, and compared with 3,104 women of the nationally representative Danish Health and Morbidity Survey 2000. The Short Form-36 questionnaire assessed HRQOL and its association with BCS' sociodemography, type of surgery, systemic therapy, radiotherapy, time since operation, receptor status, and low/high risk protocol.

RESULTS: The response rate was 79%. BCS tended to rate HRQOL better than the general female population. BCS reported significantly less "bodily pain" (P < 0.0001), better "general health" (P < 0.0001), but worse "mental health" (P < 0.0001). Age interacted significantly with four other subscales (P < 0.05): Younger BCS reported worse HRQOL than equally aged women of the general population, while older BCS reported better HRQOL. Poor HRQOL was significantly associated with being single (all subscales: P < 0.05), short education (all subscales: P < 0.05, except "social function"), and high body mass index ("physical function", "role physical": P < 0.05). Breast cancer (low/high risk, receptor status) and treatment did not affect HRQOL.

CONCLUSION: HRQOL was similar between BCS and women of the general population. Potential long-term effects of breast cancer (low/high risk, receptor status) and treatment did not seem to impact HRQOL. However, predictors for worse HRQOL in BCS were being single, and having a short education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms/epidemiology
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Registries
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors/psychology


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