Relationships between Social Support and Social Image Concerns in Turkish Women with Breast Cancer

  • Published : 2015.03.18


Background: Breast cancer is one of the most common cancer types in women and is amongst the most devastating and stressful events in the life of women. The external appearance of breast cancer patients usually changes due to the surgical and/or medical therapies used. An association may be found between social support perception and social appearance anxiety in patients with breast cancer in the period after mastectomy. Therefore, this study investigated the social appearance anxiety and social support status in women with breast cancer in our country. Materials and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in breast cancer patients undergoing treatment or follow-up in Medical Oncology and General Surgery departments. Results: The mean age of the participants was $51.13{\pm}8.48$ years (range, 24-74 years) with nearly half of the patients (40.6%) aged 40-50 years. Of the patients, 39.1% had stage 3 breast cancer. The mean score on Cancer Patient's Social Support Scale (CPSSS) was $134.85{\pm}9.35$, and there was a significant difference in CPSSS total scores betweena the age groups, educational levels, self-reported income levels and stage of disease (p<0.05). The mean Social Image Anxiety Scale (SIAS) score was found to be $34.30{\pm}9.35$ (min:16, max:66) in women participating in this study. The CPSSS and SIAS scores of the participants were inversely correlated, and the SIAS score was found to decrease with the increasing CPSSS score but with no statistically significant difference (r=-0.110, p=0.217). Conclusions: Social appearance anxiety is higher in the patients with poor social support.


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