WEDNESDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) — Younger women with breast cancer experience a decrease in their health-related quality of life (QOL), including increased psychological distress and fertility-related concerns, according to a review published Jan. 23 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Jessica Howard-Anderson, of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to investigate health-related QOL, menopausal symptoms and fertility concerns, and behavioral health outcomes for younger breast cancer survivors. Twenty-eight articles (15 cross-sectional studies, eight longitudinal studies, and five randomized trials) were included, which exclusively analyzed female breast cancer survivors who were aged 50 years or younger, or premenopausal, at diagnosis.

The researchers found that worse QOL outcomes were more frequent or severe in younger breast cancer survivors (aged ≤50 years) when compared with the general age-matched population of women without cancer and to older women with breast cancer (aged >50 years). In younger women, concerns about premature menopause, menopausal symptoms, and infertility were common, and affected the level of distress experienced following treatment. In younger women, weight gain and physical inactivity were frequent health outcomes.

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“Younger women with breast cancer were found to experience distinct psychosocial and menopause-related concerns, weight gain, and physical inactivity. A need for more longitudinal research, including efforts at intervention to manage these symptoms and adverse health outcomes, remains,” the authors write.

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