Research news: December 2009
In a survey almost half (47%) of Danish women reported having enduring pain two years after surgery for breast cancer. Among 3253 women, 733 had light pain, 595 had moderate pain, and 201 had severe pain in the breast, axilla, arm, or side. Fifty eight per cent (1882/3253) of respondents reported sensory disturbances or discomfort.
Younger women were more likely to report pain or sensory disturbances than older ones. So were women who had had an axillary lymph node dissection (adjusted odds ratio for pain relative to sentinel lymph node biopsy 1.77 (95% confidence interval 1.43 to 2.19)). Radiotherapy was associated with pain, but not sensory disturbances. Type of surgery was not associated with either, after adjustments for age and other treatments. The survey had a response rate of 87% (3253/3754).
These figures are the most reliable so far, says an editorial (p 2034), and they confirm other