Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can be a turning point with negative impacts on mental health, treatment and prognosis. This meta-analysis sought to determine the nature and prevalence of clinically significant psychological distress-related symptoms in the wake of a breast cancer diagnosis.
Ten databases were searched between March and August 2020. Thirty-nine quantitative studies were meta-analysed.
The prevalence of clinically significant symptoms was 39% for non-specific distress (n = 13), 34% for anxiety (n = 19), 31% for post-traumatic stress (n = 7) and 20% for depression (n = 25). No studies reporting breast cancer patients’ well-being in our specific time frame were found.
Mental health can be impacted in at least four domains following a diagnosis of breast cancer and such effects are commonplace. This study outlines a clear need for mitigating the impacts on mental health brought about by breast cancer diagnosis. CRD42020203990.
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The authors thank the members of Dr Brunet’s lab (Research Laboratory on Psychological Trauma) and Dr. Marin’s lab (Stress, Trauma, Emotions, Anxiety and Memory [STEAM] lab) for their generous feedback. The authors are thanking Dr. Bernard Fortin, MD, for providing his expertise in oncology. Dr. Marie-France Marin is thanking the Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec for a salary award. Finally, the authors thank Connie Guo for linguistic revisions.
The authors did not receive funding to conduct the meta-analysis.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Fortin, J., Leblanc, M., Elgbeili, G. et al. The mental health impacts of receiving a breast cancer diagnosis: A meta-analysis. Br J Cancer 125, 1582–1592 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-021-01542-3
- oncology, anxiety
- psychological distress
- post-traumatic stress
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