Making sesnse of self-conscious and emotion: linking theory of mind and emotion in women with breast cancer.

Date 22 October 2018
Event ESMO 2018 Congress
Session Poster display session: Breast cancer - early stage, locally advanced & metastatic, CNS tumours, Developmental therapeutics, Genitourinary tumours - prostate & non-prostate, Palliative care, Psycho-oncology, Public health policy, Sarcoma, Supportive care
Topics Breast Cancer
Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer
Presenter Prathama (chaudhuri)
Citation Annals of Oncology (2018) 29 (suppl_8): viii557-viii561. 10.1093/annonc/mdy296
Authors A. Datta1, P.G. (chaudhuri)2
  • 1Psychooncology, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute, 700016 - Kolkata/IN
  • 2Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, 702500 - Kolkata/IN



During the period of breast cancer’s treatment, they had to face many physical and facial changes that make them self-conscious. Self-conscious emotions are just like embarrassment and shame that are correlated with 2 factors of the theory of mind (ToM): 1. the ability to understand that behavior has social consequences in the eyes of others and (b) an understanding of social norms violations. The present study aimed to link ToM with the recognition of self-conscious emotion.


We compared the performance of patients with breast cancer (N = 61) those who were diagnosed and were willing to undergo the psychological assessment, with no history of past psychiatric illness and with age and sex match healthy controls (N = 19) who are psychologically and physically stable using the widely used ToM task, Reading the Mind in the Eyes test (RMT). Facial expression, supplemented by clinical examination by experienced researchers.


ToM was assessed with the breast cancer group performed significantly worse than the control group (p < 0.05). The present study reports that breast cancer patients have greater impairment in identifying self-conscious emotions compared to healthy control. The degree of impairment is midway in self-conscious emotion between patients with breast cancer and that of normal controls after statistically controlled ToM.


Therefore it can be said that the breast cancer patients suffering from self-conscious emotion may have an additional burden of impaired social cognition, which needs to be addressed urgently for the better quality of life.

Clinical trial identification


Legal entity responsible for the study

Prathama G. Chaudhuri.


Has not received any funding.

Editorial Acknowledgement



All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.