Adverse mental health outcomes in breast cancer survivors compared to women who did not have cancer: systematic review protocol.

Carreira, H. ; Williams, R. ; Müller, M. ; Harewood, R. ; Bhaskaran, K. ;
Adverse mental health outcomes in breast cancer survivors compared to women who did not have cancer: systematic review protocol.
Syst Rev, 2017; 6(1):162

Recent increasing trends in breast cancer incidence and survival have resulted in unprecedented numbers of cancer survivors in the general population. A cancer diagnosis may have a profound psychological impact, and breast cancer treatments often cause long-term physical sequelae, potentially affecting women’s mental health. The aim of this systematic review is to identify and summarise all studies that have compared mental health outcomes in breast cancer survivors, versus women who did not have cancer.

This study will be a systematic review of the literature. Four databases, including MEDLINE and PsycINFO, will be searched to identify potentially relevant studies. The search expressions will use a Boolean logic, including terms for the target population (women who have had breast cancer), outcomes (psychiatric disorders) and comparators (e.g. risk, hazard). All mental disorders will be eligible, except those with onset normally occurring during childhood or strong genetic basis (e.g. Huntington disease). The eligibility of the studies will be assessed in two phases: (1) considering the information provided in the title and abstract; (2) evaluating the full text. Studies including women diagnosed with breast cancer 1 year or more ago and that provide original data on mental health outcomes will be eligible. Studies in which all women were undergoing surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, or hospitalised or institutionalised, will be excluded, as well as studies that include patients selected on the basis of symptomatology. Two investigators will do the screening of the references and the data extraction independently, with results compared and discrepancies resolved by involving a third investigator when necessary. Study quality and risk of bias will be assessed across six broad domains. Results will be summarised by outcome, and summary measures of frequency and/or association will be computed if possible.

This review will summarise the evidence on the mental health outcomes of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This information can be used to motivate further research and increase understanding of the most common mental health conditions affecting this growing population of women.

PROSPERO CRD42017056946.