Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Dawood Sultan


family support, income, physical domains, survivorship, WHOQOL-BREF



Introduction: Breast cancer is the most common female cancer worldwide and it is also the principal cause of death from cancer among women globally. Breast cancer has the highest prevalence among Panamanian women and its incidence is also growing every year. Women living with and beyond breast cancer have special needs that have to be considered by society and the health care systems. After diagnosis, the quality of life (QOL) of women is highly affected, due to the emergence of physical, psychological and social effects which lead to changes in attitudes and expectations towards life.

Purpose: To evaluate the QOL, among Panamanian women who suffer from breast cancer, factors that could influence QOL and the main life areas where these women are more affected when they receive this diagnosis.

Methodology: A cross-sectional study was developed to measure the QOL of Panamanian breast cancer survivors in four domains (physical, social, psychological and environmental). A total of 240 survivor women completed 80% of the self-assessment QOL-BREF survey at the National Cancer Institute of Panama during March, 2013. Non-parametric statistical tests were used to define QOL based on the survey results, including sociodemographic and medical characteristics. A logistic regression model was performed to evaluate variables than can influence the quality of life among this population.

Results: Higher socioeconomic indicators as well as having greater levels of spiritual belief, younger age and less than 5 years of cancer diagnosis appear to produce positive and statistically significant differences in QOL among breast cancer survivors.

Conclusions: Breast cancer survivors in Panama have a good quality of life perception and are satisfied with their health. Support principally from family and friends plays a very important role in all aspects of QOL. Elderly women have different physical needs that could explain the lowest score reported in this study.

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