198706 Factors that contribute to breast cancer survivorship: The role of perceived social support and sexual identity

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jennifer M. Jabson, MPH, PhD , Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Rebecca J. Donatelle, PhD, CHES , Department of Public Health, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
More women than ever before survive breast cancer with 89% of those diagnosed becoming survivors (NCI, 2008). However, according to the National Cancer Institute (2008) some groups of women bear a greater burden of difficulty in survivorship. It is suggested that significant and important differences underpin the quality of women's breast cancer survivorship including age, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Of particular interest here, women who identify as lesbian experience a higher prevalence of breast cancer and little is known about the unique factors that impact their breast cancer survival as compared to heterosexually identified women. The long term process of breast cancer survivorship, beginning at the moment of diagnosis and lasting until the end of life (NCI, 2008) is influenced by a constellation of important factors. Psychosocial domains of survivorship such as quality of life, including spiritual, social and emotional well being, are among the most significant and the most in need of study for understanding their influence in breast cancer survivorship (Aaronson, et al., 1985; Cella, Tusky, 1990; Ferrel, Dow, 1997). The primary objective for this study was to investigate the role of sexual identity, perceived social support and socioeconomic status on breast cancer survivors: 1) emotional and physical well being, 2) perceived quality of life, 3) affect, and 4) depression. Structural equation modeling is used to develop a model predicting these outcomes for breast cancer survivors.

Learning Objectives:
1. To discuss the significance of breast cancer survivor outcomes among lesbian breast cancer survivors. 2. Explain the unique factors that contribute to lesbian breast cancer survivorship processes from the time of diagnosis on through life. 3. Evaluate significant health risks and excess disease burden of a relatively “invisible” population of women and to bring their unique issues to the forefront. 4. To analyze and deepen our understanding of the role that sexual identity plays in the process of breast cancer survivorship. 5. Discuss definitions of cancer survival beyond the five-year cancer free mark and examine the long term survivorship factors.

Keywords: Breast Cancer, Lesbian Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the student who developed and conducted this research under the supervision of my supporting committee.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.