UCLA Study Examines Stress Among Young Breast Cancer Survivors

Patricia Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, is the lead author of a study that finds that young women who have had breast cancer face a myriad of physical and mental health issues.

The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that young breast cancer survivors are likely to suffer from infertility, premature menopause, and weight gain, all or any of which can lead to severe psychological distress. The authors conclude that oncologists must do a better job of informing women patients of what may happen to them as a result of their therapy so they will be better prepared to deal with the stress. They study found that younger women who have had breast cancer are significantly more likely than older breast cancer survivors to have higher levels of stress.

Professor Ganz explains: “A cancer diagnosis can challenge younger women with issues that don’t impact older patients. A younger breast cancer patient may have young children and may be worried about living to raise them to adulthood. A younger breast cancer patient may not have had children yet and may be faced with infertility following her treatment or may return to the dating scene following treatment. We need to find ways to reduce the stress and anxiety that dealing with these issues may create. If they know what to expect, their anxiety level will be greatly reduced. Up to now, oncologists have not done a good job of preparing these women for what will come.”

Professor Ganz recently received a three-year $700,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a program that will provide assistance to young women breast cancer survivors.

Filed Under: GrantsResearch/Study


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