Pilot Study of a Survey to Identify the Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Chronic Neuropathic Pain Following Breast Cancer Surgery

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To provide a preliminary determination of the prevalence rate of women who suffer from neuropathic pain post breast surgery (PPBS) and explore potential risk factors associated with its development.


Prospective, quantitative, longitudinal survey.


Breast health clinic in western Canada.


A convenience sample of 17 women undergoing breast cancer surgery.


The Brief Pain Inventory was administered before surgery and 2 days, 10 days, and 3 months postsurgery. Demographic data also were collected preoperatively. Analysis included determining prevalence of PPBS; descriptive analyses on age, gender, and body mass index (BMI); presence of acute postoperative pain; type of surgery; and two-tailed t tests on age and BMI.

Main Research Variables:

The symptom experience of chronic PPBS.


Twenty-three percent of the sample developed PPBS. Younger age (50 years or younger), more invasive surgery, acute postoperative pain, and less analgesic use during the acute postoperative period were factors associated with the development of PPBS.


Additional research is required to confirm the significance of these potential risk factors in the development of PPBS.

Implications for Nursing:

Nurses are ideally situated to identify early signs of PPBS. In addition, nurses play a key role in the education of patients and healthcare professionals and can facilitate increased awareness about the possibility of developing PPBS, enabling earlier and more effective treatment of PPBS.

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