Post-traumatic stress strikes women after breast cancer

RISK factors predisposing women with breast cancer to post-traumatic stress have been identified in a new study.

Danish researchers found women with post-traumatic stress symptoms after surgery for breast cancer were more likely to have low socioeconomic status, previous physical and mental illness, more than three affected lymph nodes and reduced physical function three months after surgery.

More than 3000 women, who answered a questionnaire at three and 15 months after surgery, were included in the study.

One-fifth of women had severe post-traumatic stress symptoms at three months and 14.3% at 15 months. 

With most risk factors being identified at diagnosis, clinicians had an opportunity to provide early-preventive intervention, the researchers said.

British Journal of Cancer, online