Objective: Previous research has focused on negative outcomes of breast cancer in several areas of women’s quality of life (QoL). Current scientific evidence shows that breast cancer can have positive effects, referenced by the perception of posttraumatic growth (PTG). There is still a shortage of empirical studies concerning these two variables in breast cancer survivors. In this sense, the present study aims to evaluate the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), PTG and QoL in breast cancer survivors.
Method: This is a cross-sectional study that encompasses a community-based sample of 61 Portuguese women (M=59.33; SD=13,813), who ended their treatments at least 6 months before. We measured the PTSD using the PTSD Checklist, PTG was assessed with PTGI and QoL was evaluated with WHOQOL-bref.
Results: Women with lower scores of PTSD had a higher QoL (r =-.498; p=.000 for α=.01; CI 99%). The PTGI domain New Possibilities and Appreciation of Life has a positive relationship with the psychological QoL (r=.394; p=.002; α=.01; CI 99%) and social relationships QoL (r=.379; p=.003; α=.01; CI 99%) of the WHOQOL-bref. Women who underwent conservative surgery show a higher QoL than women who underwent mastectomy in the WHOQOL-bref total (U=223.500; W=1213.500; p=.015 <α=.05), physical QoL (U =181.000; W=1071.000; p =.001 <α = 0.05), and psychological QoL (U=252.500; W=1243, 500; p = .051 <α = 0.05).
Conclusions: QoL in breast cancer survivors is correlated with PTSD symptoms, but perceived positive benefits – PTG, can also influence the women’s perception of QoL. Having a mastectomy represents an important factor for QoL. Other clinical and socio-demographic variables are important factors in these correlations, being recommended for detailed study in future investigations.