Symptoms associated with comorbid diabetes among breast cancer survivors

Steven S. Coughlin, Deepak Nag Ayyala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The symptoms experienced by women with diabetes overlap with those of women with breast cancer and diabetes can worsen breast cancer symptoms. Studying the impact of diabetes on symptoms experienced by women with breast cancer can contribute to assessment and intervention strategies and facilitate the management of symptoms in this patient population. Methods: We analyzed data from a sample of 164 breast cancer patients in order to examine symptoms associated with comorbid diabetes. Data were collected by postal survey. Results: A sizeable percentage of the women (23.8%) had a reported history of diabetes. African American women with breast cancer, those with an annual income less than $35,000, and those who were on disability were more likely to have comorbid diabetes (p < 0.05 in each instance). Breast cancer survivors with diabetes were more likely to report having major problems with their health than women without diabetes (p < 0.05). Compared to women without diabetes, breast cancer survivors with diabetes were also more likely to report preoccupation with being ill (p < 0.07) and tenderness at surgical site (p < 0.06), and the associations were of borderline significance. Discussion: Cancer survivors who have diabetes experience more problems with their health and preoccupation with being ill than breast cancer survivors who lack a history of diabetes. Additional research is warranted to examine symptoms and problems in living among breast cancer survivors, particularly those who are African American.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-786
Number of pages6
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Breast cancer survivors
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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