Quality of life among mastectomy patients using external breast prostheses

Stacey Hart, Beth E. Meyerowitz, Giovanni Apolone, Paola Mosconi, Alessandro Liberati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Most women who undergo mastectomy for breast cancer use external breast prostheses. Yet, little is known about patterns of use, satisfaction levels, and quality of life associated with their use as compared to other options. Patients and Methods: We report longitudinal, self-report questionnaire data regarding prosthetic use from 592 Italian mastectomy patients. Women who report satisfaction with their prostheses are compared on medical, demographic, and quality of life variables to a matched sample of women who report dissatisfaction. We also compare matched samples of women who do not use prostheses and women who had reconstruction to prosthetic users. Results: Most women used and were satisfied with their prostheses. However, there was a small group of women who were dissatisfied. These women reported greater disruption to their sense of feminility and worse quality of life in some areas. We found few differences between prosthetic users and women who used either of the other two options available following mastectomy - taking no action to restore the appearance of the amputated breast or having reconstructive surgery. Conclusions: No one technique for restoring the appearance of the mastectomized breast is necessary to optimize quality of life for all women. Physicians should describe the options to women, along with the average satisfaction rates for women choosing those options, and help women to make the best personal decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-586
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1997


  • Breast reconstruction
  • External prostheses
  • Mastectomy
  • Quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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