PTSD Symptoms Common After Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Friday, March 8, 2013 (Last Updated: 03/11/2013)

FRIDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Following a diagnosis of breast cancer, nearly one-quarter of women report symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a study published online Feb. 21 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Neomi Vin-Raviv, M.P.H., Ph.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues conducted telephone interviews with 1,139 women with newly diagnosed breast cancer (stages I to III) at baseline at about two to three months after diagnosis, first follow-up at four months after diagnosis, and second follow-up at six months after diagnosis. Traumatic stress was measured using the Impact of Events Scale.

The researchers found that 23 percent of participants reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of PTSD at baseline, 16.5 percent at first follow-up, and 12.6 percent at the second follow-up. Persistent PTSD, defined as having PTSD at two consecutive interviews, was observed among 12.1 percent of participants. PTSD was developed by 6.6 percent of participants without PTSD at baseline. PTSD was associated with younger age at diagnosis, being black, and being Asian.

"Nearly one-quarter of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer reported symptoms consistent with PTSD shortly after diagnosis, with increased risk among black and Asian women," the authors write.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
Internal Medicine

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