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Pain Res Treat. 2012;2012:851276. doi: 10.1155/2012/851276. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Depression and Anxiety Symptoms Relate to Distinct Components of Pain Experience among Patients with Breast Cancer.

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  • 1Division of Biobehavioral Medicine, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, 67 President Street, 1-South, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


Breast cancer is a leading cancer diagnosis among women worldwide, with more than 210,000 new cases and 40,000 deaths per year in the United States. Pain, anxiety, and depression can be significant factors during the course of breast cancer. Pain is a complex experience with sensory, affective, and cognitive dimensions. While depression and anxiety symptoms are relatively common among breast cancer patients, little is known about the relation between these psychiatric factors and distinct components of the pain experience. In the present study 60 females presenting to an NCI-designated Cancer Center with newly diagnosed breast cancer completed the Center for Epidemiological Studies 10-item Depression Scale, the State Instrument of the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the McGill Pain Questionnaire. Findings indicate that anxiety and depression are common among newly diagnosed breast cancer patients; furthermore, patients experience an appreciable amount of pain even before oncologic treatment starts. State anxiety serves as a predictor of the sensory dimension of the pain experience, whereas depression serves as a predictor of the affective dimension of the pain experience.

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