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Estimation of Modification in the Cost of Living for Women with Early-Stage Breast Cancer during the First Year after Diagnosis

Fasoi-Barka Georgia, Kelesi-Stavropoulou Martha, Vlachou Eugenia, Sotnikova Christina, Papageorgiou Dimitris Eand Govina Ourania

Background: Breast cancer symptoms and treatments that follow not only affect the way a person perceives their health condition but create problems in biological, personal, family, socio-economic, sexual and financial level, too.

Aim: To estimate, the change in the cost of living for patients with early stage breast cancer during the first year, after diagnosis.

Method and Material: The study population consisted of 181 patients with stage II breast cancer. Data collection lasted from May 2006 until June 2008. To estimate the cost of living for women, a specific questionnaire was used. The study population was interviewed by the researchers at two times apart. This was a convenience sampling. The normality of quantitative variables was checked using the Kolmogorov-Smirnoff test. For the variables which did not follow the normal distribution, the Wilcoxon statistical test in pairs was used. All statistical tests were performed at a significance level a=0.05. The statistical package SPSS-(15) was used for the statistical analysis of the results.

Results: The frequency of purchase and the amount of expenditure on cosmetics, were increased significantly (p=0,035) and (p=0,000), respectively. The frequency of two-day trips of the patients was significantly increased as well as the amount of money spent on these trips (p=0,000) and (p=0,000), respectively. Furthermore, the frequency of telephone calls and the amount of money spent on them were increased (p=0,000) and (p=0,002), respectively. Finally, the purchase of vitamins or dietary supplements was increased (p=0,000), as well as the amounts of money that patients had spent on those supplies (p=0,000).

Conclusions: Women with breast cancer, increase the cost of living related to the improvement of their altered body image, the costs associated with communication and entertainment needs as well as the cost of buying substances relating to the strengthening of their body (supplements).