Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 2453–2460 | Cite as

ICF, quality of life, and depression in breast cancer: perceived disability in disease-free women 6 months after mastectomy

  • Giardini AnnaEmail author
  • Pisoni Camilla
  • Giorgi Ines
  • Borelli Veronica
  • Scoccia Elisabetta
  • Majani Giuseppina
Original Article


Goal of work

Aim of the present observational study is to focus on health-related quality of life (HRQL), mood and everyday life of breast cancer affected women disease-free 6 months after mastectomy, paying particular attention to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework contribution.

Materials and methods

Sixty-five breast cancer-affected women disease-free 6 months after mastectomy hospitalized for reconstructive surgery (mean age 46.3 ± 7.3) were enrolled. Their depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory—BDI-II), HRQL, and every day life functioning/barriers and facilitators (ICF) were assessed.


At the BDI-II, 6 patients (9.2 %) reported mild depression and 6 (9.2 %) severe depression; when the subscales were considered, 7 (10.8%) resulted depressed at the somatic–affective factor and 16 (24.6 %) at the cognitive factor. Compared to normative data no differences emerged at the HRQL Physical Component Summary (46.4 ± 9.3 vs 49.1 ± 10.1), whereas patients reported lower scores at the Mental HRQL Component Summary (45.9 ± 10.1 vs 51.5 ± 9.1; p = 0.00001 t = −4.3). As for the activity and participation domain, 11 of the 42 categories investigated were compromised in at least 20% of the sample: lifting and carrying objects (d430), acquisition of goods and services (d620), doing housework (d640), remunerative employment (d850), and many categories relating to interpersonal relationships; moreover the caregiver seems to be perceived as an important and positive modulator of disability.


The addition of the ICF evaluation to the usual psychological assessment gives a more complete picture, enabling a broader perspective of the psychological–clinical implications. Mainly, the women that we have evaluated continue to function in their everyday lives, thanks in part to their ability to accept help from their own families. However, they inevitably carry signs of their disease which some translating into problems with interpersonal relationships, depressive thoughts and negative ideation. Only the synergistic use of all these assessment instruments can one truly perceive all the nuances relating to the social and psychological conditions of the assessed patients’ life, overcoming a binomial vision of well-being and ill-being.


ICF Disability Depression Breast cancer 



This research was conducted with the support of the Extraordinary National Cancer Program 2006 “ISS for ACC” Project, WP 2. QUALITADI VITA E ICF IN PAZIENTI ONCOLOGICI.

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have conflicts of interest, have full control of all primary data, and allow the journal to review their data if requested.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giardini Anna
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pisoni Camilla
    • 1
  • Giorgi Ines
    • 2
  • Borelli Veronica
    • 2
  • Scoccia Elisabetta
    • 3
  • Majani Giuseppina
    • 1
  1. 1.Servizio di Psicologia, Istituto Scientifico di Montescano (PV)Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri—IRCCSMontescanoItaly
  2. 2.Servizio di Psicologia, Istituto Scientifico di PaviaFondazione Salvatore Maugeri—IRCCSPaviaItaly
  3. 3.Chirurgia Senologica, Istituto Scientifico di PaviaFondazione Salvatore Maugeri—IRCCSPaviaItaly

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