Prevalence and risk factors associated with pain 21 months following surgery for breast cancer

Niamh Moloney*, Jennie Man Wai Sung, Sharon Kilbreath, Elizabeth Dylke

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: This study investigated (1) the prevalence of pain following breast cancer treatment including moderate-to-severe persistent pain and (2) the association of risk factors, present 1 month following surgery, with pain at 21 months following surgery. This information may aid the development of clinical guidelines for early pain assessment and intervention in this population. Methods: This study was a retrospective analysis of core and breast modules of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) questionnaire from 121 participants with early breast cancer. The relationships between potential risk factors (subscales derived from the EORTC), measured within 1 month following surgery, and pain at 21 months following surgery were analysed using univariable and multi-variable logistic regression. Results: At 21 months following surgery, 46.3 % of participants reported pain, with 24 % categorised as having moderate or severe pain. Prevalence of pain was similar between those who underwent axillary lymph node dissection versus biopsy. Univariate logistic regression identified baseline pain (odds ratio (95 % CI): 2.7 (1.1 to 6.4)); baseline arm symptoms (11.2 (1.4 to 89.8)); emotional function (0.4 (0.1 to 0.8)) and insomnia (2.3 (1.1 to 4.7) as significantly associated with pain at 21 months. In multi-variable analysis, two factors were independently associated with pain at 21 months—baseline arm symptoms and emotional subscale scores. Conclusion: Pain is a significant problem following breast cancer treatment in both the early post-operative period and months following surgery. Risk factors for pain at long-term follow-up included arm symptoms and higher emotional subscale scores at baseline.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4533-4539
    Number of pages7
    JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


    • breast cancer
    • chronic pain
    • risk factors
    • post-operative pain


    Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence and risk factors associated with pain 21 months following surgery for breast cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this