Body image in recently diagnosed young women with early breast cancer

Shoshana M. Rosenberg, Rulla M. Tamimi, Shari Gelber, Kathryn J. Ruddy, Sandra Kereakoglow, Virginia F. Borges, Steven E. Come, Lidia Schapira, Eric P. Winer, Ann H. Partridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Objective To assess body image concerns among young women following a breast cancer diagnosis. Methods A total of 419 women with recently diagnosed stage 0-III breast cancer were surveyed following enrollment as part of a prospective cohort study of women age 40 or younger at diagnosis. Body image was assessed using three items from the psycho-social scale of the Cancer Rehabilitation Evaluation System (CARES). CARES scores range from 0 to 4, with higher scores indicative of greater image concerns. Mean CARES scores were calculated and compared between treatment groups using t-tests and analysis of variance. Multiple linear regression models were fit to evaluate the relationship between physical and psychological factors and body image. Results Mean time from diagnosis to completion of the baseline survey was 5.2 months. The mean CARES score for all women was 1.28. Mean CARES scores in the mastectomy-only group (1.87) and in the mastectomy with reconstruction group (1.52) were significantly higher (p < 0.0001) compared with the scores in the lumpectomy group (0.85), indicating that radical surgery was associated with more body image concerns. Radiation (p = 0.01), anxiety (p = 0.0001), depression (p < 0.0001), fatigue (p = 0.04), musculoskeletal pain symptoms (p < 0.0001), weight gain (p = 0.01), and weight loss (p = 0.02), in addition to surgery type (p < 0.0001), were all associated with more body image concerns in the multi-variable analysis. Conclusion This analysis highlights the impact of treatment, along with physical and psychological factors, on body image early in the survivorship period. Our findings provide targets for potential future intervention and may aid young women in the surgical decision-making process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1849-1855
Number of pages7
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • body image
  • breast cancer
  • mastectomy
  • oncology
  • young women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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