Pain Associated with Breast Cancer

Kaitlyn Durkee


Breast cancer is a cancer associated with abnormal cell growth located in the breasts. These cells divide more rapidly than normal cells and eventually forms a lump from the eventual accumulation. The risks of developing this cancer have been identified to be a mix of the environmental factors and the genetic makeup of an individual.

It is one of the most common cancer diagnoses in women, although it can occur in men as well. In 2018, there was an estimated 2.1 million new cases of breast cancer worldwide with an estimated 627,000 deaths. This makes the cancer the fifth leading cause of death. This number is particularly bad in Malaysia, where the number of new cases has been increasing over the years and currently sits at 17.3% of all new cancer cases in both men and women.

One complication from the cancer is the post-mastectomy pain syndrome (PMPS) that causes chronic neuropathic pain in the individual. Although this syndrome is not linked solely to breast cancer surgeries, it is still a significant complication from mastectomies and leads to a lower quality of life of individuals who experience this pain.

Quality of life is a good starting place when looking at how an individual deals with the pain after/during breast cancer. The pain/discomfort area was rated the worst on this scale in relation to medicine use and household income. It is important to address this pain and find good ways to help individuals manage it so that QoL scores can increase in the future and allow a better life to the survivor.

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