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Racial Disparities in Posttraumatic Stress After Diagnosis of Localized Breast Cancer; The BQUAL Study

BACKGROUND: Little is known about the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over time among women diagnosed with breast cancer. This study examines changes in PTSD symptoms in the first 6 months after diagnosis and assesses racial/ethnic differences in PTSD symptomatology over time. METHODS: We recruited women with newly diagnosed breast cancer, stages I to III, from three sites in the United States. Three telephone interviews were conducted: baseline at about 2 to 3 months after diagnosis, first follow-up at 4 months after diagnosis, and second follow-up at 6 months after diagnosis. We measured traumatic stress in each interview using the Impact of Events Scale; recorded sociodemographic, tumor, and treatment factors; and used generalized estimating equations and polytomous logistic regression modeling to examine the associations between variables of interest and PTSD. RESULTS: Of 1139 participants, 23% reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of PTSD at baseline, 16.5% at first follow-up, and 12.6% at the second follow-up. Persistent PTSD was observed among 12.1% participants, as defined by having PTSD at two consecutive interviews. Among participants without PTSD at baseline, 6.6% developed PTSD at the first follow-up interview. Younger age at diagnosis, being black (odds ratio [OR] = 1.48 vs white, 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.04 to 2.10), and being Asian (OR = 1.69 vs white, 95% CI = 1.10 to 2.59) were associated with PTSD. CONCLUSIONS: Nearly one-quarter of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer reported symptoms consistent with PTSD shortly after diagnosis, with increased risk among black and Asian women. Early identification of PTSD may present an opportunity to provide interventions to manage symptoms.

Authors: Vin-Raviv N; Hillyer GC; Hershman DL; Galea S; Leoce N; Bovbjerg DH; Kushi LH; Kroenke C; Lamerato L; Ambrosone CB; Valdimorsdottir H; Jandorf L; Mandelblatt JS; Tsai WY; Neugut AI

J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Apr 17;105(8):563-72. Epub 2013 Feb 21.

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