J Korean Med Assoc.  2016 Apr;59(4):266-275. 10.5124/jkma.2016.59.4.266.

Management of long-term breast cancer survivors in Korea

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Family Medicine and Cancer Prevention Center, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Division of Breast and Endocrine Surgery, Department of Surgery and Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Family Medicine and Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. yunmisong@skku.edu

Abstract

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer of Korean women population. Due to the marked development of early detection as well as treatment techniques, the number of long-term survivors from breast cancer has been rapidly increasing. As the cancer survivors from other cancers do, breast cancer survivors also have various kinds of health problems. Diverse treatment modalities including anti-cancer hormonal therapy for breast cancer are related with wide range of long-term and late effects such as lymphedema, vasomotor symptoms, skin and musculoskeletal problems, and cardiac toxicity. Many breast cancer survivors also exposed to the increased risk of secondary cancer as well as comorbidities such as diabetes, dyslipidemia, and osteoporosis. In addition, many breast cancer survivors tend to suffer from the fear of recurrence, depression, and anxiety, even after the completion of cancer treatment. To meet the complex needs of breast cancer survivors, comprehensive medical as well as psychosocial supports seem essential. However, those needs have been frequently neglected, because oncologists usually focus on cancer treatment and do not have enough time to manage the various health problems. Integrated care on the basis of intimate and interactive communication between oncologists and primary care physicians could be a desirable way of satisfying the unmet needs of breast cancer survivors and thus, improving their quality of life.

Keyword

Breast neoplasms; Cancer treatment; Cancer survivor; Complications; Secondary cancer

MeSH Terms

Anxiety
Breast Neoplasms*
Breast*
Comorbidity
Depression
Dyslipidemias
Female
Humans
Korea*
Lymphedema
Osteoporosis
Physicians, Primary Care
Quality of Life
Recurrence
Skin
Survivors*
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