Long-Term Follow-Up of Pain and Emotional Characteristics of Women After Surgery for Breast Cancer

David Sheridan (Lead / Corresponding author), Irwin Foo, Halia O'Shea, David Gillanders, Linda Williams, Marie Fallon, Lesley Colvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Persistent pain after treatment for breast cancer (PPBCT) is a common side effect of breast cancer treatment, with prevalence as high as 50%. It is predominantly a neuropathic condition.

Objectives: The aim of this cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study was to examine the emotional characteristics of patients with PPBCT in long-term breast cancer patients. A secondary objective was to characterize the risk factors and severity of that pain.

Methods: From March 1, 2010 to April 9, 2010, long-term follow-up patients were invited to complete a questionnaire. This recorded their surgical and demographic data and ascertained whether they had PPBCT. If the patient had pain, she completed a range of validated self-report questionnaires and questions about the nature of the pain, including a visual analogue scale.

Results: One hundred eleven patients completed the questionnaire; 33 (29.7%) patients reported chronic pain at a median time of 64 months postoperatively (interquartile range 54.25). Patients with persistent pain were not significantly more anxious (t(105) = 0.369, P = 0.713) or depressed (t(105) = 0.713, P = 0.507) than patients without pain. Patients with constant pain compared with intermittent pain were significantly more anxious (t(25) = 3.460, P = 0.002). Preoperative pain conferred a fivefold increased risk of PPBCT (odds ratio [OR] = 5.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.79-14.97, P = 0.002); chemotherapy conferred a threefold increased risk (OR = 3.004, 95% CI = 1.22-7.40, P = 0.017).

Conclusion: We have shown significant numbers of patients suffer from PPBCT. At a median time of 64.5 months, women with pain are not significantly more anxious or depressed than women without pain. Preoperative pain and chemotherapy have been highlighted as risk factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-614
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number4
Early online date27 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • postmastectomy pain syndrome
  • neuralgia
  • Breast neoplasms
  • persistent pain after breast cancer treatment


Dive into the research topics of 'Long-Term Follow-Up of Pain and Emotional Characteristics of Women After Surgery for Breast Cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this