Survey Of Psychosocial Problems Facing Breast Cancer Survivors After Undergoing A Mastectomy And Their Awareness Of Breast Reconstruction

Yong Chung, Eunyoung Kang, Eun Joo Yang, Jae Young Lim, Eun Kyu Kim, Hyun Ah Kim, Woo Chul Noh, Jae Il Kim, Min Ho Park, Jung Han Yoon, Jeong Eon Lee, Seok Jin Nam, Jung Hyun Yang, Byoung Kil Lee, Sung Hoo Jung, Hyun Jo Youn, Ku Sang Kim, So Youn Jung, Byung In Moon, Sung Won Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Breast reconstruction in patients who have undergone a mastectomy is performed less frequently in Korea than in Western countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the psychosocial problems related to a mastectomy and awareness of reconstruction after a mastectomy in breast cancer survivors. Methods: From March to April 2010, 252 patients who underwent a mastectomy were recruited for this survey. The questionnaire included sociodemographic characteristics of patients, psychosocial problems related to mastectomy, and reasons not to receive breast reconstruction. Results: Patients had difficulty going to a public bath (70.3%) or going to a swimming pool or the beach (74.6%). More than half of patients answered that their physical activity had decreased due to persistent shoulder or arm pain after the mastectomy. The most common psychological problem that patients experienced was distress over the loss of charm as a woman (66.8%), followed by considering themselves disabled (62.0%), and worries about recurrence (59.4%). The most common reason not to receive a breast recon-struction was the high cost of the operation (59.4%), followed by anxiety about complications (46.7%). Only 16.2% of patients reported that they did not receive enough information about reconstruction from their doctor. Of 229 patients, 43.7% would consider undergoing breast reconstruction in the future. Conclusion: Breast cancer survivors who underwent a mastectomy suffered from various psychosocial problems, and high cost was a major reason for not undergoing breast recon-struction. Broader health insurance coverage should be provided for breast reconstruction in breast cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S70-S76
JournalJournal of Breast Cancer
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Mammaplasty
  • Mastectomy


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