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SABCS 2022 | Treatment goals and QOL in a survey of patients with ER+/HER2- mBC

Sarah L. Sammons, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses treatment goals and quality of life (QOL) in a survey of patients with ER-positive/HER2-negetive metastatic breast cancer. The survey was carried out to determine the impact on patients of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Out of approximately 475 patients, around half of patients claimed to have a good or very good QoL. Those who were less likely to feel they have a good QoL were younger patients, patients of lower socioeconomic status and patients who are African American. The survey also revealed that many patients live in fear of progression of their cancer, and patients were almost equally worried about disease progression as they were about QoL in regard to the side-effects of treatment. Approximately half of patients also had concerns over their sexual health. Overall, the survey identified how metastatic breast cancer significantly impacts the QoL of patients. This interview took place at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) 2022 in San Antonio, TX.

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Transcript (edited for clarity)

We essentially performed a survey in about 475 patients with metastatic hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer with metastatic disease to really determine what is the impact of both breast cancer itself and its treatment on those patients. And we had a great response. Again, almost 475 patients responded, and the respondents were mostly in the United States. We were able to have a pretty diverse population of patients that responded to the survey and essentially, what we found was about half of patients living with metastatic hormone receptor-positive breast cancer feel like they live with good or very good quality of life...

We essentially performed a survey in about 475 patients with metastatic hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer with metastatic disease to really determine what is the impact of both breast cancer itself and its treatment on those patients. And we had a great response. Again, almost 475 patients responded, and the respondents were mostly in the United States. We were able to have a pretty diverse population of patients that responded to the survey and essentially, what we found was about half of patients living with metastatic hormone receptor-positive breast cancer feel like they live with good or very good quality of life.

Patients that were less likely to feel that they had good quality of life were younger patients, patients of lower socioeconomic status, and African American patients. So there probably are some disparities that we should further look into within the metastatic HR-positive population and how people are living and how we can help them. Patients lived in fear of progression of their cancer very regularly. So I think there’s a bit of a misnomer in treating physicians that patients only think about progression before scans. But what we found in this survey is that patients are worrying about progression daily and weekly and not just before their scans, the vast majority of them. And that’s something that we don’t often address in the clinic, and we really feel like we should.

Patients also were almost equally as worried about disease progression as they were about quality of life and side effects to treatment. So I think that’s something that we often don’t think about as well, that patients really are concerned when we’re choosing a therapy about how well they’re going to live on that therapy and what the side effects will be. And they worry about that almost as much as they worry about their disease progression. So further evidence that we need to have these goals of care, quality of life versus treatment progression, what is important to conversations in the metastatic setting when we’re choosing therapies.

Also, about half of patients were worried about their sexual health and did not feel they had very good sexual health, and that’s certainly something that we don’t talk about in the clinic nearly as much. So in summary, metastatic breast cancer dramatically impacts the quality of life of our patients. Patients worry a lot about progression. Patients also worry a lot about the side effects of treatment, and we need to continually address those concerns and do more work to figure out the best ways to do that.

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