Changes in Perceived Social Support after Starting Treatment in Egyptian Patients with Operable Breast Cancer: A Longitudinal Observational Study

Citation:
Saleh MA, Kassem L, Atteya H, Mousa M, Alsirafy S. "Changes in Perceived Social Support after Starting Treatment in Egyptian Patients with Operable Breast Cancer: A Longitudinal Observational Study." Tumori Journal. 2020;106:28. copy at www.tinyurl.com/yhgtbbew

Abstract:

Background:Social support (SS) has been proven to be associated with improved outcome of early breast cancer. Little is known about the magnitude of social support available for Egyptian breast cancer patient and much less is known about the changes that occur in such support after the diagnosis of breast cancer and starting treatment.

Methods:We designed a longitudinal questionnaire based prospective cohort study using the six item form of the Medical Outcomes Study- Social Support Survey (MOS-SSS) questionnaire and included patients with pathologically proven non-metastatic breast cancer 18-70 years of age. Patients completed the self administered questionnaire at 2 time points: at first diagnosis of breast cancer and after 3-6 months of starting treatment. Comparison of the pre and post treatment questionnaires was done using paired sample T test.

Results:A total of 48 patients completed the 2 questionnaires. Median age was 48 years (range: 24-65 years). Seventy percent of our patients were married, 67% had more than 2 children and 77.8% were housewives. Around half of the patients (45.2%) had monthly income below 1200 EGP. Patients who had higher education level (p=0.002) and those who were living in Cairo (p=0.033) reported higher SS at baseline. Mean MOS-SSS score at baseline was 64.4 (±24.8) while after treatment was 76.4 (±22.3); p<0.001. The increase in SS was consistent in most of the patient subgroups but was more prominent in illiterate patients compared to educated (p=0.033), those who work a handy job compared to housewife (p=0.04), and those who lived in Upper Egypt compared to Cairo residents (p=0.029).

Conclusion:The majority of Egyptian breast cancer patients had a supportive environment after the diagnosis of breast cancer. A special attention should be paid to the at-risk groups with no sufficient SS during that period.

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