Home Health & Wellness Study Highlights Health-Promoting Behaviours and Psychological Distress in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Endocrine Therapy

Study Highlights Health-Promoting Behaviours and Psychological Distress in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Endocrine Therapy

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A recent study, published in the journal Post Reproductive Health, has unveiled significant findings on the relationship between health-promoting behaviours and psychological distress in breast cancer patients receiving endocrine therapy. The study sheds light on the mediating roles of menopausal symptoms and social support, offering critical insights for healthcare providers in managing the mental health of these patients.

Breast cancer remains the most prevalent cancer among women globally, with a high survival rate owing to advancements in treatment. Among these treatments, adjuvant endocrine therapy (AET) is crucial for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer patients, often extending for five to ten years post-diagnosis. However, AET is associated with several physical and psychological side effects, including depression, hot flushes, arthralgia, and fatigue.

The study by Li et al. aimed to investigate how health-promoting behaviours influence psychological distress in breast cancer patients on AET and whether menopausal symptoms and social support play mediating roles in this relationship. The researchers conducted a cross-sectional study with 226 breast cancer patients from an oncology hospital in Tianjin, China, utilising self-report questionnaires to gather data.

The study revealed a high prevalence of psychological distress among the participants, with 78.7% reporting significant distress. The data demonstrated that health-promoting behaviours were directly and negatively associated with psychological distress. Moreover, menopausal symptoms and social support were found to significantly mediate this relationship, accounting for 34.8% and 27.6% of the total effect, respectively.

Menopausal symptoms, common among patients undergoing AET due to oestrogen deficiency, were shown to exacerbate psychological distress. Symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and joint pain not only contribute to emotional distress but also reduce the likelihood of engaging in health-promoting behaviours. This creates a vicious cycle, further aggravating mental health issues.

Similarly, perceived social support emerged as a critical factor in mitigating psychological distress. Patients with strong social networks, including support from family, friends, and significant others, reported lower levels of distress. Social support was also positively correlated with health-promoting behaviours, suggesting that a supportive environment encourages patients to adopt healthier lifestyles.

The findings underscore the importance of comprehensive care approaches that address both the physical and psychological needs of breast cancer patients on AET. Healthcare providers should prioritise the assessment and management of menopausal symptoms to improve patients’ quality of life and mental health. Non-pharmacological interventions, such as lifestyle modifications and psychological support, can play a crucial role in this regard.

Additionally, enhancing social support systems for patients is vital. Healthcare professionals should facilitate the involvement of family and friends in the care process and provide resources for community support groups. Integrating mobile health technology could also offer valuable tools for patients to access information, support, and health management strategies.

While the study provides valuable insights, it is essential to note its limitations. The cross-sectional design and reliance on self-reported data may introduce biases and limit the ability to establish causal relationships. Future research should explore longitudinal studies to better understand the dynamic interplay between health-promoting behaviours, menopausal symptoms, social support, and psychological distress.

Expanding the study to include diverse populations across different regions and cultural backgrounds would enhance the generalisability of the findings. Investigating additional factors that may influence psychological distress, such as genetic predispositions and variations in treatment regimens, could further enrich our understanding of this complex issue.

© Copyright 2014–2034 Psychreg Ltd