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ISRN Nursing
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 608039, 7 pages
Research Article

Cancer-Specific Stress and Mood Disturbance: Implications for Symptom Perception, Quality of Life, and Immune Response in Women Shortly after Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

1University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston, 6901 Bertner Avenue, CNR No. 536, Houston, TX 77030, USA
2University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, 3500 Victoria Street, VB 415, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
3UAB Hospital, 184-A Russel Wing, 1813 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35249, USA

Received 16 October 2012; Accepted 28 November 2012

Academic Editors: S. McClement and A. Williams

Copyright © 2012 Duck-Hee Kang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. To determine the levels of cancer-specific stress and mood disturbance in women shortly after diagnosis of breast cancer and to assess their associations with symptom perception, quality of life, and immune response. Design. Descriptive and correlational. Sample and Setting. One hundred women with newly diagnosed breast cancer were recruited from interdisciplinary breast clinics. Methods. Baseline data were collected using standardized questionnaires and established bioassay prior to the initiation of cancer adjuvant therapy. Blood samples were collected about the same time of day. Results. High cancer-specific stress was significantly correlated with high mood disturbance, which, in turn, was correlated with high symptom perception, poor quality of life, and an immune profile indicating high neutrophils and low lymphocytes. Conclusions. High cancer-specific stress and related mood disturbance show extensive negative relationships with multiple behavioral, clinical, and biological factors. Implications for Nursing. Routine screening for cancer-related stress and mood disturbance should be incorporated into nursing practice for all patients diagnosed with cancer. Given broad negative associations with other biobehavioral factors, early identification of patients at risk and provision and evaluation of stress and mood management programs may have a beneficial effect on subsequent health outcomes over time.