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Psychological Impact Of Adjuvant Chemotherapy In The First Two Years After Mastectomy

A. V. M. Hughson, A. F. Cooper, C. S. McArdle and D. C. Smith
British Medical Journal (Clinical Research Edition)
Vol. 293, No. 6557 (Nov. 15, 1986), pp. 1268-1271
Published by: BMJ
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29525145
Page Count: 4
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Psychological Impact Of Adjuvant Chemotherapy In The First Two Years After Mastectomy
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Abstract

Psychological symptoms were assessed over two years in a randomised trial of three forms of treatment given to women after mastectomy for stage II breast cancer. The treatments were: three weeks' radiotherapy; one year's adjuvant chemotherapy with cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil; and radiotherapy followed by chemotherapy. Analysis of the results on an intention to treat basis showed no substantial differences in depression or anxiety among groups at one, three, or six months after the operation. At 13 months, however, patients who had been allocated chemotherapy had significantly more symptoms, especially depression, than control patients treated with radiotherapy alone. Conditioned reflex nausea and vomiting increased considerably during the second six months of chemotherapy and persisted for up to a year afterwards. The psychological morbidity of adjuvant chemotherapy could be substantially reduced if courses of treatment were restricted to about six months.

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