Cancer Res Treat.  2024 Jan;56(1):125-133. 10.4143/crt.2023.673.

Impact of Social Support during Diagnosis and Treatment on Disease Progression in Young Patients with Breast Cancer: A Prospective Cohort Study

  • 1Department of Clinical Research Design and Evaluation, SAIHST, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Center for Clinical Epidemiology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Health Sciences and Technology, SAIHST, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Digital Health, SAIHST, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, Korea
  • 5Research Institution for Future Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
  • 6Division of Breast Surgery, Department of Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 7Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


We evaluated the association between changes in social support after cancer treatment and recurrence-free survival (RFS) in such patients using a prospective cohort study.
Materials and Methods
Data were obtained from a prospective cohort study (NCT03131089) conducted at Samsung Medical Center (2013-2021). The primary outcome measure was RFS. Social support was measured using the social and family well-being (SFWB) domain of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General. We calculated the changes in SFWB scores before and during treatment and the hazard ratio for RFS by comparing such changes.
The mean±standard deviation (SD) age of the patients was 35±3.9 years, and 71.5% and 64.8% of the patients were married and had children, respectively. The mean±SD SFWB score at baseline was 20.5±5.0 out of 26. After cancer treatment, 35.9%, 10.3%, and 53.8% of the participants had increasing, unchanged, and decreasing SFWB scores, respectively. The decreasing SFWB score group had a higher risk of mortality or recurrence than the increasing group. Risk factors for the decreasing score were the presence of children during diagnosis.
In this cohort, changes in social support after treatment were associated with RFS in young patients with breast cancer. Health professionals should develop family interventions to help them receive proper social support.


Social support; Recurrence; Young breast cancer; Prospective cohort study


  • Fig. 1. (A-F) Probability of change of social/family well-being between diagnosis and during treatment.

  • Fig. 2. Kaplan-Meier curve by change of social/family well-being between diagnosis and during treatment. Index date was three months after diagnosis (during active treatment). The curve was considered an inverse probability weight to correct for potential selection bias.



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