Better understanding the concerns of couples facing cancer appears crucial for care quality. This study aims to clarify the subjective experience in couples in which the woman is diagnosed with early breast cancer at a young age (
491 couples (28.7% of which non-metastatic breast cancer women were under chemotherapy, 10.2% under trastuzumab, 33.9% under hormone therapy and 28.1% under follow-up) completed a self-administered questionnaire (for patient : YW-BCI36 and for partner : corresponding version : partner YW-BCI36 (Christophe and al. Health Qual Life Outcomes 2015)), scale to identify respective subjective experience of the disease (36 items, 8 dimensions).
Patients reported more difficulties than partners in the management of child(ren) and the everyday life, body image and sexuality, negative affectivity and apprehension about the future, career management, and finances. Although the difficulties were generally more marked during chemotherapy and Trastuzumab than during hormone therapy and follow-up, the negative affectivity and apprehension about the future was high in every stage of treatment, especially in patients. The partners reported more difficulties in sharing with their close relatives, these difficulties increasing over time and also in patients. No difference appeared between patients and partners in the couple cohesion and deterioration of relationships with relatives.
Couples' difficulties are particularly severe in the early care pathway and decrease over time, reflecting a progressive adjustment. A longitudinal study will substantiate this finding and allow to better identify some explanatory processes of these differences and similarities in the daily experience of the disease in couples.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Centre Oscar Lambret
This paper presents independent research funded by the Ligue Nationale contre le Cancer, the Conseil Régional du Nord-Pas de Calais, the Prix Ruban Rose 2010, and Sanofi, Roche and Novartis
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.