Sensory signs and symptoms in women with self-reported breast cancer-related lymphedema: a case-control study close up


De Groef A., Devoogdt N., GÜRŞEN C. , Moloney N., Warpy V., Daelemans J., ...More

JOURNAL OF CANCER SURVIVORSHIP, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11764-021-01100-z
  • Title of Journal : JOURNAL OF CANCER SURVIVORSHIP
  • Keywords: Breast neoplasms, Lymphedema, Signs and symptoms, Sensory function, Body perception, Pain, CENTRAL SENSITIZATION, PAIN SYNDROME, DIAGNOSIS, PREVALENCE, GUIDELINES, SURVIVORS, SURGERY, CLASSIFICATION, QUESTIONNAIRE, PERSPECTIVES

Abstract

Purpose It is not clear to what extent signs and symptoms other than arm swelling, including pain, altered sensory function, and body perception disturbances, differ between women with measurable and non-measurable breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL). A case-control study was performed to compare these signs and symptoms between (1) women with self-reported BCRL with objectively measurable swelling; (2) women with self-reported BCRL without objective confirmation; and (3) a control group with no self-reported BCRL. Methods The three groups were compared for (1) the severity of self-reported signs and symptoms of BCRL, (2) problems in functioning related to BCRL, (3) pain-related outcomes, (4) sensory functions, and (5) body perception. Results All self-reported outcomes related to signs and symptoms of BCRL and problems in functioning were significantly different between the control group and the other two groups with and without measurable self-reported BCRL (p < 0.001-0.003). Except for "skin texture" (p = 0.01), no differences were found between groups. For pain-related outcomes, sensory function, and body perception, significant differences were found for the mechanical detection threshold (p < 0.01) and self-reported disturbances in body perception (p < 0.001) between the self-reported BCRL groups and control group. Conclusions Diverse signs and symptoms related to BCRL, sensory function, and perception were different among women with self-reported BCRL compared to controls. No differences between women with and without measurable self-reported BCRL were found. Implications for Cancer Survivors The presence of self-reported BCRL, with or without measurable swelling, is a first indication for the need of further diagnostic evaluation.