Knowledge is lacking about partners’ perception of women’s body image problems and satisfaction of breast reconstruction long-term after risk-reducing mastectomy (RRM) with immediate breast reconstruction (IBR) due to increased risk of hereditary breast cancer.
Partners’ contact information was provided by women participating in a prospective long-term follow-up after going though RRM and IBR 6–18 years ago. They received an information letter about the study and questionnaires to be completed/returned in a prepaid return envelope. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale and the Swedish Short Term-36 Health Survey (SF-36) were answered from the partners’ perspective, and the Breast Reconstruction Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-BRR26), the Body Image Scale, and the Sexuality Activity Questionnaire from partners’ perception of the women’s experience. Partners’ responses were compared to the women’s responses, and with the SF-36 in the normative Swedish population.
Sixty partners’ names were provided by the 146 (73%) women participating in the long-term follow-up study. Thirty-six (60%) partners participated in total. The partners’ perception of the women’s satisfaction with the IBR was lower than the women’s own perceptions, p = 0.0362. Partners also perceived that the women had more problems with body image than the women themselves, p = 0.0419. Partners scored the sexuality items ‘Pleasure’, ‘Discomfort’, and ‘Habit’ similarly as the women. Both partners and women had in general a higher level of HRQoL compared to the age-standardised normative Swedish population.
This is one of the first studies designed to investigate partners’ long-term perception of women’s perception of their body image, sexuality, and satisfaction with IBR. The results are important when counselling couples in the decision-making process considering RRM, and to identify areas in need of support where the health care providers can assist the couples in the post-operative setting.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Swedish Cancer Society, Swedish Research Council, Radiumhemmets forskningsfonder, and Bröstcancerföreningens forskningsfond.
M. Wickman: Employment and leadership role (ended April 2017): Aleris AB. All other authors have declared no conflicts of interest.