Breast Cancer Chemotherapy and Hormonal Therapy Affect Quality of Life Over Time

Study from ASCO Annual Meeting shows differences in impact among pre- and postmenopausal women, and based on type of therapy
ASCO Coverage
June 3, 2019
Eric Fitzsimmons, Copy Editor and Content Coordinator

A study of 4,262 people with early-stage breast cancerinfo-icon in Paris sought to define how chemotherapy and hormonal therapy affect quality of lifeinfo-icon. The study was presented at the 2019 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinicalinfo-icon Oncologyinfo-icon.

To keep up to date with research findings, doctors often consider new courses of treatment that add more medicines to care or keep people taking them longer. The researchers in this study wanted to lay out how and to what extent treatment affects quality of life and how these effects differ among treatments.

The study found that two years after diagnosisinfo-icon, people were still affected by treatment:

  • People given chemotherapyinfo-icon reported effects on physical function and thinking.
  • People given hormonal therapyinfo-icon reported negative effects on role and social function.

The study also found a difference between premenopausalinfo-icon women – women who still get periods regularly – and postmenopausalinfo-icon women – women who have stopped getting periods. Premenopausal women reported more problems relating to chemotherapy, and postmenopausal women reported more problems related to hormonal therapy.

The study illustrates how treatments can affect lives even after they end. The researchers pointed to the effects of hormonal therapy. In recent years, while researchers have been looking for ways to use less chemotherapy, guidance on hormonal therapy has been moving toward giving it for longer periods. The authors of this study recommend that doctors and other researchers consider these effects as they weigh adding treatment.

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