Chronic Pain after Breast Surgery is Very Common

November 18, 2009

Professor Henry Kehlet is a Danish surgeon and an innovative researcher. He has done pioneering work investigating chronic (long term) pain after surgery. It turns out that many major surgical procedures cause pain that is long-lived, that is, persists beyond 4- 6 weeks or so. This phenomenon is mostly ignored in pre-surgery discussions between surgeons and their patients and can significantly decrease quality of life after otherwise successful surgical procedures.

A November 11 study in JAMA by Kehlet and his colleagues has found that nearly half of all women treated for breast cancer have pain 1 to 3 years afterwards and in half of these women the pain is moderate or severe. The results were based on a nationwide survey in Denmark that achieved an amazing 87% response rate.

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