Evidence is scant regarding symptom clusters and quality of life (QOL) over 1 year in women who receive adjuvant breast cancer chemotherapy (CTX). Our purpose was to identify the prevalence and severity of individual symptoms, symptom clusters, and QOL in women receiving adjuvant breast cancer CTX from baseline over 1 year. Methods: Symptoms were identified in a sample (n = 219) at three times: baseline (prior to the first adjuvant CTX treatment), 1 month after the last CTX (approximately 6 months after baseline), and 1 year after baseline. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and Symptom Experience Scale measured symptoms. The Medical Outcomes Study, Short-Form Survey, measured QOL. Exploratory factor analysis identified symptom clusters at each time and core symptoms in clusters over time. Results: The prevalence and severity of 10 symptoms decreased over time (P < 0.05). Fatigue, sleep disturbance, and pain were most prevalent; all were of mild severity. Two symptom clusters were identified at baseline and one met internal consistency reliability criteria at the later times. Core symptoms were identified. Both the physical and mental component scores of QOL improved over time (P < 0.01), but physical was below the general population norms 1 year after baseline. Conclusions: The symptom experience was dynamic, and symptom clusters changed over 1 year. Despite mild severity, core symptoms and clusters persisted over 1 year, and physical health was below the general population norms. Breast cancer survivors with persistent single and co-occurring symptoms need to be taught to manage the patterns of symptoms over time because they may not resolve by 1 year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-140
Number of pages7
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Breast cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • quality of life
  • symptom
  • symptom cluster

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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