Living with cancer-related uncertainty: associations with fatigue, insomnia, and affect in younger breast cancer survivors.
Support Care Cancer. 2014 Sep;22(9):2489-95
Authors: Hall DL, Mishel MH, Germino BB
PURPOSE: Uncertainty in cancer patients and survivors about cancer-related symptoms, treatment, and disease course has been related to poorer mental and physical health. However, little is known about whether cancer-related uncertainty relates with specific disease and treatment-related outcomes such as fatigue, insomnia, and affect disruptions. In this paper, we report these associations in younger survivors aged 50 years or less, a population increasing in prevalence.
METHODS: Participants included 313 breast cancer survivors (117 African-Americans and 196 Caucasians) who were aged 24 to 50 years and were 2 to 4 years posttreatment. Self-reported cancer-related uncertainty (Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale-Survivor Version), fatigue (Piper Fatigue Scale-Revised), insomnia (Insomnia Severity Index), and negative and positive affect (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS)) measures were collected upon study entry.
RESULTS: Hierarchical regression analyses controlled for relevant sociodemographic variables include the following: race, age, years of education, number of children, employment status, marital status, monthly income, smoking status, family history of cancer, endorsement of treatment-induced menopause, and religiosity. Over and above these factors, higher cancer-related uncertainty was significantly associated with more self-reported fatigue (β = .43), insomnia (β = .34), negative affect (β = .43), as well as less positive affect (β = -.33), all ps < .01.
CONCLUSIONS: Younger breast cancer survivors who are 2-4 years posttreatment experience cancer-related uncertainty, with higher levels associated with more self-reported psychophysiological disruptions. Cancer survivors who present in clinical settings with high uncertainty about recurrence or management of long-term effects of treatment may thus benefit from assessment of fatigue, insomnia, and affect.
PMID: 24728586 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]