Risk factors for pain after mastectomy/lumpectomy

Janet S. Carpenter, Paul Sloan, Michael A. Andrykowski, Patrick McGrath, David Sloan, Tracy Rexford, Daniel Kenady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Careful study of risk factors that predispose an individual to developing postmastectomy pain (PMP) after breast cancer surgery has not been reported. This study examined potential risk factors for PMP including demographic, disease, and treatment variables, as well as surgical factors, such as surgical technique and number of lymph nodes removed. DESCRIPTION OF THE STUDY: Data were collected via telephone interviews and review of medical records. Pain was assessed using the Brief Pain Inventory. The sample included 134 breast cancer survivors who were a mean age of 55 years (SD = 9) and a mean of 35 months postsurgery (SD = 19). RESULTS: Women with PMP (n = 36) were not significantly different from women without PMP (n = 98) on demographic, disease, treatment, or surgical variables. PMP intensity was not significantly associated with age at diagnosis, time postsurgery, or time post-treatment. Contrary to expectation, PMP was found in women postlumpectomy without axillary dissection, women whose intercostobrachial nerve was spared, and women without documented postoperative complications. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Findings suggest that cases of PMP cannot uniformly be identified based on the presence or absence of certain factors. Findings also underscore the need to screen all women for PMP after breast cancer surgery, particularly given the availability of effective pain management therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-70
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1999


  • Breast
  • Complications
  • Neoplasm
  • Pain, postmastectomy
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Oncology


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