OAKLAND, Calif., May 9 Breast cancer patients who say they have people with whom they have a good time, or have "positive social interactions" with, are better able to deal with pain and other physical symptoms, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published today in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.
"This study provides research-based evidence that social support helps with physical symptoms," said lead author Candyce H. Kroenke, ScD, MPH, staff scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. "Social support mechanisms matter in terms of physical outcomes."
The study, which is among the first to examine exactly how social relationships influence quality of life in breast cancer patients, also found that tangible support (such as help with household tasks and errands) was most useful to those with late-stage cancer.
"While hundreds of studies have examined the role of factors influencing cancer risk and prevention, this study is one of a small but growing number that focus quality of life after a breast cancer diagnosis," Kroenke said.
Part of the Pathways study of breast cancer survivorship at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, the study included 3,139 female members of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer between 2006 and 2011. Within about two months of their breast cancer diagnosis, study participants answered several detailed questionnaires on their social networks (including friends and relatives, spouse/intimate relationships, and religious, social and community ties); the kinds of support they received (tangible, emotional/informational, affection and positive social interaction); and their emotional and physical quality of life, and physical symptoms from breast cancer.
Women with the highest levels of social integrationthe largest social networks, or the personal relationships that surround an individualwere most likely t
|Contact: Jacqueline Brown|