Journal Article
. 2014 Nov; 121(6):935-42.
doi: 10.1002/cncr.29133.

Experiencing reproductive concerns as a female cancer survivor is associated with depression

Jessica R Gorman 1 H Irene Su  Samantha C Roberts  Sally A Dominick  Vanessa L Malcarne  
  • PMID: 25377593
  •     63 References
  •     41 citations


Background: Young adult female cancer survivors have unmet reproductive concerns and informational needs that are associated with poorer quality of life. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between current reproductive concerns and moderate to severe depression among young survivors.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 200 female cancer survivors between the ages of 18 and 35 years who completed a Web-based survey measuring reproductive history, parenthood desires, reproductive concerns after cancer, and quality-of-life indicators.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 28 years (standard deviation, 4.4 years), and almost two-thirds were diagnosed within 5 years of survey completion. A multivariate logistic regression analysis controlling for education, duration of survivorship, and social support revealed an association between experiencing reproductive concerns and moderate to severe depression (odds ratio for each 5-unit increase in the Reproductive Concerns After Cancer [RCAC] score, 1.30; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.60). Among those with moderate to severe depression, 23% had high RCAC scores, whereas 6% of those with minimal to mild depression did (P < .001).

Conclusions: A higher level of reproductive concerns was associated with greater odds of experiencing moderate to severe depression. Almost a quarter of survivors in this sample reported moderate to severe depression, and addressing reproductive concerns represents one potential area of intervention for improving the psychosocial health of young survivors.

Keywords: depression; female; fertility; pregnancy; quality of life; reproductive health; survivors.

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