Original Article

Disability and Health-Related Quality of Life after Breast Cancer Surgery: Relation to Impairments

Authors: Taciser Kaya, AP, Altinay Göksel Karatepe, MD, Rezzan Günaydin, AP, Halit Yetiş, MD, Adam Uslu, AP


Background: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of impairments relevant to upper extremity following breast cancer surgery and its impact on disability and health-related quality of life.

Methods: Sixty-seven female patients being treated with modified radical mastectomy or breast conserving surgery were included. They were evaluated for impairments (arm edema, loss of handgrip strength, limited shoulder joint range of motion, and pain), physical disability using the disabilities of the arm, shoulder, and hand (DASH) questionnaire, and for health related quality of life by means of the functional assessment of cancer therapy-breast+4 (FACT-B+4).

Results: The most common impairment observed was arm pain on motion; the cause of 20% variance in disability score (r2 = 0.203, P = 0.000). Arm pain on motion, anterior chest wall pain, loss of grip strength, and shoulder flexion were significant factors in different domains of quality of life according to the FACT-B+4 questionnaire.

Conclusion: Pain relief should be the priority of treatment along with the prevention of joint movement restriction to ensure a sufficient quality of life for surgically treated breast cancer patients.

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