Women with advanced breast cancer feel let down with the level of care they receive, research shows.
Some 235 British women whose cancer had spread to other organs filled in an in-depth questionnaire funded by the Breast Cancer Campaign, with the results published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.
The report said there was “little evidence of involvement of general practitioners and palliative care services” for the women.
More than 50% had been living with secondary breast cancer for two years or more but many did not receive palliative care, despite their pain, because they were not at the end-of-life stage.
Nearly two-thirds (62%) said the healthcare professional they would opt to see on a regular basis would be their hospital consultant.
A third (34%) said they endured high levels of pain and other uncontrolled symptoms, around a quarter (27%) had shortness of breath and 26% suffered from nausea despite the availability of medication to tackle these symptoms.
Those with breast cancer that had spread to their bones were most likely to suffer pain, with 44% saying their pain was significant, the University of Southampton research team reported.
- Reed E, et al. Quality of Life and Experience of Care in Women With Metastatic Breast Cancer: A Cross-Sectional Survey. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2011; Advance online publication.