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Pain Pract. 2014 Feb;14(2):E17-28. doi: 10.1111/papr.12089. Epub 2013 Jun 24.

Prevalence of phantom breast pain and sensation among postmastectomy patients suffering from breast cancer: a prospective study.

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  • 1Department of Anaesthesia, Pain and palliative Care, Dr. BRA Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.



With the advent of newer treatment modalities, survival rate among breast cancer patients has improved substantially over the last few years. Hence, the concern has also shifted to the impact of treatment, side effects, and the morbidities arising from disease management. Among them is the development of phantom breast pain (PBP) and sensation (PBS) after mastectomy.


After obtaining ethical committee approval, 80 patients suffering from carcinoma breast undergoing modified radical mastectomy were enrolled into the study. They were assessed preoperatively for presence of breast pain, disease, and surgical concerns and followed up postoperatively at 6 weeks, 6 and 12 months, respectively, for development of PBP and PBS, and other associated effects.


The prevalence of PBP and PBS was 5.4%, 9.5% at 6 weeks, 8.2%, 6.8% at 6 months, and 13.6% and 17% at 12 months, respectively. There was high prevalence of depression, sleep disturbance, and anxiolytic intake among the patients with PBP and PBS (P value < 0.05).


The prevalence of PBP and PBS was very low and of minor clinical significance. There was higher prevalence of depression, sleep disturbances, and anxiolytic intake among the patients with PBP and PBS, but it did not result in any significant impact on the patients daily activities.

© 2013 World Institute of Pain.


carcinoma breast; modified radical mastectomy; phantom breast pain; phantom breast sensation

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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