Adverse health effects after breast cancer up to 14 years after diagnosis

PSCCR group

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The number of breast cancer survivors increases, but information about long-term adverse health effects in breast cancer survivors is sparse. We aimed to get an overview of the health effects for which survivors visit their general practitioner up to 14 years after diagnosis. Methods: We retrieved data on 11,671 women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000–2016 and 23,242 age and sex matched controls from the PSCCR-Breast Cancer, a database containing data about cancer diagnosis, treatment and primary healthcare. We built Cox regression models for 685 health effects, with time until the health effect as the outcome and survivor/control and cancer treatment as predictors. Models were built separately for four age groups (aged 18/44, 45/59, 60/74 and 75/89) and two follow-up periods (1/4 and 5/14 years after diagnosis). Results: 229 health effects occurred statistically significantly more often in survivors than in controls (p < 0.05). Health effects varied by age, time since diagnosis and treatment, but coughing, respiratory and urinary infections, fatigue, sleep problems, osteoporosis and lymphedema were statistically significantly increased in breast cancer survivors. Osteoporosis and chest symptoms were associated with hormone therapy; respiratory and skin infections with chemotherapy and lymphedema and skin infections with axillary dissection. Conclusions: Breast cancer survivors may experience numerous adverse health effects up to 14 years after diagnosis. Insight in individual risks may assist healthcare professionals in managing patient expectations and improve monitoring, detection and treatment of adverse health effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

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