Association Between Cancer Stigma, Pain and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer

Ora Nakash, Leeat Granek, Michal Cohen, Merav Ben David


Aim: We examined the association between cancer stigma and quality of life. We further explored the role of pain intensity in this association among women with breast cancer in the first months following diagnosis. Methods: 105 women with breast cancer within 8 months of diagnosis completed self-report measures assessing cancer stigma, pain intensity and quality of life. Results: Our findings show that stigma among breast cancer patients is associated with worse quality of life. Pain intensity partially mediated the relationship between cancer stigma and quality of life. We recruited a convenience sample of women with breast cancer, which may be subject to selection bias. The cross sectional design of the study precludes inferences regarding causality. Conclusions: Health professionals should recognize and mitigate the impact of stigma as an important factor that is associated with impaired quality of life among patients with breast cancer. Continued attention should be paid to pain intensity and the complex relationship between stigma and pain in predicting quality of life.


stigma; breast cancer; pain; quality of life; Israel