Persistent arm pain is distinct from persistent breast pain following breast cancer surgery

Dale J. Langford, Steven M. Paul, Claudia West, Gary Abrams, Charles Elboim, Jon D. Levine, Deborah Hamolsky, Judith A. Luce, Kord M. Kober, John M. Neuhaus, Bruce A. Cooper, Bradley E. Aouizerat, Christine Miaskowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Persistent pain following breast cancer surgery is well documented. However, it is not well characterized in terms of the anatomic site affected (ie, breast, arm). In 2 separate growth mixture modeling analyses, we identified subgroups of women (N = 398) with distinct breast pain and arm pain trajectories. The fact that these latent classes differed by anatomic site, types of tissue affected, and neural innervation patterns suggests the need for separate evaluations of these distinct persistent pain conditions. The purposes of this companion study were to identify demographic and clinical characteristics that differed between the 2 arm pain classes and determine if differences existed over time in sensitivity in the upper inner arm and axillary lymph node dissection sites, pain qualities, pain interference, and hand and arm function, as well as to compare findings with persistent breast pain. Higher occurrence rates for depression and lymphedema were found in the moderate arm pain class. Regardless of pain group membership, sensory loss was observed in the upper inner arm and axillary lymph node dissection site. Arm pain was described similarly to neuropathic pain and interfered with daily functioning. Persistent arm pain was associated with sustained impairments in shoulder mobility.

Perspective For persistent breast and arm pain, changes in sensation following breast cancer surgery were notable. Persistent arm pain was associated with sustained interference with daily functioning and upper body mobility impairments. Long-term management of persistent pain following breast cancer surgery is warranted to improve the quality of survivorship for these women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1238-1247
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pain
Volume15
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Keywords

  • Arm pain
  • breast cancer surgery
  • chronic pain
  • grip strength
  • pain interference
  • pain qualities
  • persistent pain
  • range of motion
  • sensory changes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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  • Cite this

    Langford, D. J., Paul, S. M., West, C., Abrams, G., Elboim, C., Levine, J. D., Hamolsky, D., Luce, J. A., Kober, K. M., Neuhaus, J. M., Cooper, B. A., Aouizerat, B. E., & Miaskowski, C. (2014). Persistent arm pain is distinct from persistent breast pain following breast cancer surgery. Journal of Pain, 15(12), 1238-1247. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2014.08.013