Rheumatoid symptoms following breast cancer treatment: A controlled comparison

Michael A. Andrykowski, Shelly L. Curran, Janet S. Carpenter, Jamie L. Studts, Lauren Cunningham, Patrick C. McGrath, David A. Sloan, Daniel E. Kenady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The prevalence of rheumatoid symptoms following breast cancer (BC) treatment was examined. Breast cancer patients (n = 111) who were a mean of 27.6 months postcompletion of BC treatment and 99 otherwise healthy women with benign breast problems (BBP) completed a self-report measure that assessed current joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, as well as measures of quality of life. Results supported a hypothesized link between BC and rheumatoid symptoms: (1) the BC group was more likely to report joint stiffness lasting more than 60 rain following morning waking; (2) the prevalence of unilateral or bilateral joint point or swelling was greater (P < 0.10) in the BC group for four of 10 joint-symptom combinations examined, with differences between the BC and BBP groups in upper extremity joint swelling particularly pronounced; and (3) 41% of the BC group reported that current rheumatoid symptoms exceeded those experienced prior to diagnosis. Within the BC group, the data did not support postchemotherapy rheumatism as an explanation for rheumatoid symptoms. Rather, data suggested that symptoms were associated with surgical management of BC. Finally, among women in the BC group with the most severe joint pain, only a minority were receiving medication for these symptoms. Given the relationship between rheumatoid symptoms and quality of life, more systematic research examining potential contributing factors such as menopausal status, concurrent lymphedema, and weight gain is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1999


  • Arthritis
  • Cancer pain
  • Quality of life
  • Rheumatoid symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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