Saturday, July 14, 2007
This presentation is part of : Care of the Chronically Ill
Relationship of intimacy with spouses to quality of life of women with breast cancer
Eunkyung Hwang, RN1, Mi Hye Moon, RN2, Yeon Joo Yoo, RN1, Seong Eun Lee, RN2, Hye Jin Kim, RN2, Youngsun Choi, RN1, and Dongyoung Noh, PhD, MD1. (1) Breast Care Center, Seoul National University Hospital, seoul, South Korea, (2) Cancer Center, Seoul National University Hospital, seoul, South Korea
Learning Objective #1: understand breast cancer patients' intimacy with their spouses is the key factor of their quality of life.
Learning Objective #2: understand a need of an evidence-based intervention for breast cancer patients' to improve the intimacy with their spouses and quality of life.

Purpose/Objectives To examine the relationship between intimacy with spouses and quality of life of women with breast cancer Theoretical Framework Theory of Stress-Appraisal (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) provided a framework of the study. Social factor of interaction with spouses was considered to be related to patients' quality of life. Research Approach Descriptive, Quantitative, Cross-sectional Setting Breast Care Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea Participants Sixty-nine patients with breast cancer who have received a modified radical mastectomy or a breast conserving operation were recruited. They were all married and living together with their spouses. Methods A structured questionnaire developed to measure the intimacy and quality of life was utilized with a self-administration form. Electronic medical records were also reviewed. Main Research Variables Intimacy, Quality of life, Breast cancer Findings The affinity with the spouse had a significant and positive correlation with the quality of life. In intimacy, perceptional intimacy was scored highest while sexual intimacy was lowest. There were no differences in intimacy with spouses by current therapy methods, duration after diagnosis, operation methods, and cancer stages. In addition, family-related factor showed the highest score in the measure of quality of life of the women. Conclusions Intimacy with spouses needs to be considered in the care of breast cancer patients for their quality of life. Lack of sexual intimacy was found to be a critical issue because it could be a factor to influence quality of life in these women. Family-related factors seem to be culture-specific, suggesting the importance of dynamics of couple and family in quality of life of Korean breast cancer patients. Implication for Nursing Couple-centered and family-centered nursing interventions should be launched to support breast cancer patients. Further studies need to identify related factors of sexual adjustment to provide optimal supportive care to breast cancer couples.