“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."
A study testing a questionnaire for women having surgery for breast cancer
This study tested a questionnaire to find out how women feel before and after surgery for breast cancer.
Doctors usually treat breast cancer with surgery, sometimes followed with other treatments. If you have surgery, you may have your whole breast removed (a mastectomy) followed by surgery to make a new breast shape (breast reconstruction).
Doctors know that this can be an emotional time and wanted to develop a questionnaire to accurately find out how surgery to make a new breast shape affects women’s quality of life.
The aim of this study was to test a new questionnaire to find out how easy it is to fill in, and how useful it is.
Summary of results
The research team were able to test and change the quality of life questionnaire to make it more relevant.
Nearly 200 women from 5 countries took part in this study. They had all had, or were due to have, surgery to reconstruct a breast after an operation for breast cancer. 189 women completed the questionnaire, and 187 were interviewed by a member of the research team to discuss the questionnaire.
The questionnaire, called the Quality of Life Questionnaire on Breast Reconstruction (QLQ BRR31), asked 31 questions about things such as how the breast looked after surgery, how the women felt about having reconstruction and if they had any problems or side effects.
The research team then gave each item on the questionnaire a score to decide how relevant and useful it was to this group of women. They found that 10 items were not relevant. They took some of these out of the questionnaire, updated some to make them more relevant, and combined some with other items so that they made more sense to patients.
The research team concluded that the new version of the questionnaire with 26 questions, called QLQ BRR26, is ready to be looked at in a larger trial.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Zoe Winters
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Bristol