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Answer to your Health Question

Question:

3 years ago I had surgery for Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia in my left breast.

Several days after surgery the sutures ripped and I had to get them restitched.

Now all of a sudden I am having severe sharp pain several times a day when that breast comes into contact with anything.

Could this be adhesion pain?

Should I see the doctor?

Paula

Answer:

Dear Paula,

Nearly half of breast cancer survivors are plagued by persistent pain years after cancer surgery, Danish researchers found.

Pain two to three years later was most common for younger women and those who had axillary lymph node dissection, Dr. Rune Gärtner of the University of Copenhagen and colleagues reported.

Their study appeared in the Nov. 11 2009 Journal of the American Medical Association.

Gärtner's group conducted a study of all Danish women who received breast cancer surgery and adjuvant therapy, if indicated, from 2005 through 2006.

What they found was that of the 3,754 women age 18 to 70 years who particpiated in the study, 47 percent of the patients reported pain in at least one area of their body.

Among them, 13 percent had severe pain, with a score of at least 8 on the 10-point scale.

For them, daily pain was the norm.

Another 39 percent of women who reported pain said it was of moderate severity with a score of 4 to 7 points on the same scale. But overall, only about a quarter of the women with pain sought any treatment for it.

Sensory disturbances -- such as allodynia, aftersensations, burning, or sensory loss -- also appeared linked to chronic pain.


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