Side effects burden in women with breast cancer

Alice J. Longman, Carrie Jo Braden, Merle H. Mishel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Purpose: This article describes the side effects burden of 307 women who were receiving treatment for breast cancer. The study provides a description of the impact of side effects burden on adult role activities (self-help), self-care, psychological adjustment, and quality of life. Description of study: Data to describe the side effects burden characteristics of 307 women receiving treatment for breast cancer were drawn from the Self-Help Intervention Project. Data were collected after medical treatment was underway and treatment-related side effects were evidenced. The impact of side effects burden on adult role activities (self-help), self-care, psychological adjustment, and life quality is described. Results: Fatigue was the most common side effect as well as the most problematic. Number of side effects and increase in side effects were moderately correlated (P < 0.0001) in a negative direction with fatigue and depression. Self-care behaviors also were associated negatively with the extension of side effects and with fatigue and depression (P < 0.001). Psychological adjustment was associated with difficult sleeping, anxiety, and depression. Overall life quality was noted to be negatively related to depression as was present life quality. Clinical implications: Data support the need for clinical interventions that are individualized to women's side effects experience. Additional research is underway to test the effectiveness of the interventions specified by the overall study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • breast cancer
  • life quality
  • psychological adjustment
  • self-help
  • side effects burden

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Oncology


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