Purpose of Review
Breast cancer continues to be the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women and the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. By the suffering that it causes in various domains of life, breast cancer seriously impacts the quality of life of affected individuals and causes a major burden of suffering in the community. The objectives of the review were to understand the health-related suffering in patients with breast cancer and to identify the scope of palliative care in improving the quality of life of patients with breast cancer.
Breast cancer causes suffering in physical, psychological, social, financial, and spiritual domains of the lives of the patient and family. Management of breast cancer with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation could have adverse effects, such as pain, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, shortness of breath, depression, and constipation. Both cancer and its treatment can impact the psychosocial and spiritual well-being of the patient and family members. Integrating palliative care into existing breast cancer treatment programs seems to be the best approach to diminish these sufferings.
In addition to pain and other physical symptoms, breast cancer can cause major psychological, social, and spiritual suffering. In the context of developing countries, out-of-pocket expenditure can cause major financial destruction which can impact generations. Integration of palliative care to breast cancer treatment is essential.