Societal impacts of treatment of early breast cancer: implications for future research, policy and practice
Jun 11, 2019
RAND Europe conducted a study on the societal impact of early breast cancer. This study was divided into three interconnected phases, which together aim to enrich the evidence base on the broader health, societal and economic impacts of treatment of early breast cancer, using a mixed methods approach. In the second phase of our programme we undertook a systematic review of the non-clinical burden of a recurrence event following treatment for early breast cancer. The systematic review sought to address the psychosocial and broader economic costs of women with early breast cancer who have recurred, their carers, families and broader society. We found that the majority of evidence available in the literature on the impact of breast cancer recurrence following treatment for early breast cancer focused on the psychosocial well-being of women who have experienced a recurrence of breast cancer, following initial treatment. There was a limited body of evidence of the impact of recurrence on the patient's relationship with their spouse, and even less of the impact of breast cancer on the spouse — other than fatigue. There was a limited number of studies presenting the impact of early breast cancer on the wider health system and society overall. Surprisingly, there was a lack of qualitative research on psychosocial well-being in patients and carers, or on time off work and out-of-pocket expenses for both groups. These results highlight that there is a multifaceted psychological burden for women treated for early breast cancer who go on to experience a recurrence, and there is some evidence of psychological burden on spouses and wider society.
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