Psychosocial impact of breast cancer surgeries in Chinese patients and their spouses

W Yeo, WH Kwan, PM Teo, S Nip, E Wong, LY Hin, Philip Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: This pilot study assesses the psychosocial impact of different modalities of breast cancer surgery in Chinese patients and their husbands. METHODS: Thirty-six patients who underwent conservative breast therapy (BCT) for breast cancer were compared with 36 women who underwent total mastectomy (TM) on four aspects of psychosocial adjustment. They were matched in pairs in terms of stage of disease, age and time since surgery. Where available, their husbands were also consented for similar assessment. RESULTS: Women who underwent BCT showed a significantly better response to their body and sexual image than those who underwent TM. This difference did not translate into any significant difference in terms of emotional and symptomatic aspects, daily activities, or fear of recurrences. The husbands of patients in the TM group showed significantly more emotional and symptomatic distress and greater change in the perception of their wives' body and sexual images. CONCLUSION: This is the first of such study conducted in a Chinese population. The lack of differences in certain psychosocial aspects may indicate a generally good adjustment in the TM patients after their surgery. It may also relate to the fact that volunteers for the study were themselves representative only of the patient population who adapted well to the surgery, and those patients who were emotionally distressed tended to decline to participate. Psychosocial disruption in the patients' families is reflected in our study where patients' husbands in the TM group were significantly more disturbed. However, due to the limited number of patients studied, the findings are not yet conclusive and require further studies for confirmation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-139
Number of pages8
Early online date5 Feb 2004
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2004


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