Wellbeing of Breast Cancer Survivors in the South West
The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of, and to identify the major factors that contributed to psychosocial distress amongst breast cancer survivors in South West WA. The study also aimed to highlight the factors that influenced survivors’ ability to thrive and develop resilience.
Principal Investigators: The research was carried out by researchers at Edith Cowan University:
Christopher Chalon (BA, PGDipBus, PhD) – Principal Investigator
Keith Howe (MBBS, DRCOG, FRACGP) – Co-Investigator
Bronwyn Pierce (MBBS, FACEM) – Co-Investigator
Moira O’Connor (BAHons, MSc, PhD) – Co-Investigator
Catherine Woulfe (BSc, DipEd, DipCompSc) – Research Associate
The study revealed satisfaction with health information relevant to the patients clinical situation and satisfaction with information specific to side effects associated with the form of treatment. Support from friends, support from partners and concern about body image impacted significantly on optimism and feelings of helplessness, which in turn, affected survivors’ psychosocial wellbeing. Factors which influenced psychological wellbeing included, age, distance from treating centre and the type of surgery that patients underwent (eg mastectomy Vs less radical surgery).
A series of recommendations for action, based on the sound empirical evidence derived from the study, were put forward for the consideration of relevant stakeholders. Should these recommendations be implemented in a timely and efficient manner, the psychosocial quality of life and wellbeing of South West WA breast cancer survivors can be significantly and meaningfully enhanced. The successful implementation of recommendations may also establish the South West WA region as the Australian standard of excellence in regional and rural breast cancer support.