Factors associated with depression symptoms in women after breast cancer

ABSTRACT OBJECTIVE: To analyze the factors associated with the presence of depression symptoms in women after breast cancer. METHODS: Cross-sectional study with 181 women with breast cancer, aged 57.0 years (SD = 9.5), who were undergoing treatment or after treatment in the Oncology Research Center in Florianópolis, state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. The questionnaire comprised items addressing general and health information, economic level, anthropometric measures, depression symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory), self-esteem (Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale), and body image (Body Image After Breast Cancer Questionnaire). Descriptive and inferential statistical analysis were performed by chi-square and Fisher's exact tests to verify association, Mann-Whitney U test to compare the groups and Poisson regression to identify the prevalence ratio of the factors associated with presence of depression symptoms (p < 0.05). RESULTS: We found an association between the presence of depression symptoms and the group of younger women (aged 40–60 years), those who had another disease besides cancer, those who had mastectomy surgery, those who suffered from lymphedema, and those who presented low–medium self-esteem. Less educated women presented more depressive symptoms, as did women with worse body image on the subscales of limitations, transparency, and arm concerns. CONCLUSIONS: Age, educational attainment, diagnosis of other diseases, type of surgery, lymphedema, self-esteem, and body image were factors associated with the presence of depression symptoms in Brazilian women after breast cancer. Health professionals should be aware of these relationships and try to detect depression symptoms earlier and improve the care they provide to these women.