Guard us against breast cancer and other afflictions of women, and inspire us to overcome adversity.From a prayer to St Agatha of Sicily, Patron Saint for women with breast cancer
Guard us against breast cancer and other afflictions of women, and inspire us to overcome adversity.
Worldwide, breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in women, affecting about 12%.1 The incidence has significantly increased since the 1970s; however, with the advances and sophistication in diagnosis and treatment, survival rates have become high, with between 80% and 90% of patients with breast cancer alive for at least 5 years. Nevertheless, the emotional impact of cancer diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, and related issues may be severe. Among the issues with a significant effect on quality of life are hair loss and thinning related to cancer treatment. Hair loss negatively affects an individual’s perception of appearance, body image, sexuality, and self-esteem. Moreover, patients feel deprived of their privacy because the hair loss is readily interpreted by the public as associated with having cancer. The impact is known from chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA). A survey demonstrated that 47% of female patients with cancer considered CIA the most traumatic aspect of chemotherapy,2 and 8% would even decline chemotherapy because of fear of hair loss.3
Trüeb RM. Minoxidil for Endocrine Therapy–Induced Alopecia in Women With Breast Cancer—Saint Agatha’s Blessing? JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(6):656–658. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.0453
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