OBJECTIVE: Axillary web syndrome (AWS) is a complication of surgical procedures in breast cancer (BC) patients. This condition with poorly understood incidence and etiology is characterized by the locoregional development of scar tissue, leading to subcutaneous cording, motion impairment and pain. The early identification of patients at risk for AWS would improve their clinical management. Here, we sought to characterize the prevalence of and the risk factors associated with AWS in BC women after surgery.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: All patients with BC that underwent axillary surgery referred to an Outpatient Service for Oncological Rehabilitation were retrospectively collected. These women were assessed two weeks after the surgical procedure for their clinicopathologic features, type of therapeutic interventions, and AWS presence, laterality, pain, localization, cords type, and number of cords.
RESULTS: Altogether, 177 patients (mean aged 60.65 ± 12.26 years) were included and divided into two groups: AWSPOS (n=52; 29.4%) and AWSNEG (n=125; 70.6%). Patients with tumor N ≥1 (OR=3.7; p<0.001), subjected to mastectomy, axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) and chemotherapy showed significant correlations with AWS onset (p<0.05). The range of shoulder motion limitation (OR=11.2; p<0.001) and the presence of breast cancer related lymphedema (OR=3.5; p=0.020) were associated with AWS.
CONCLUSIONS: Mastectomy, ALND, chemotherapy, low staging tumors, shoulder range of motion limitations, and BCRL represent risk factors for AWS onset. Realizing new strategies for assessing the individual risk of AWS is a crucial clinical need to improve the health-related quality of life of BC survivors.
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To cite this article
A. de Sire, L. Losco, C. Cisari, A. Gennari, R. Boldorini, N. Fusco, E. Cigna, M. Invernizzi
Axillary web syndrome in women after breast cancer surgery referred to an Oncological Rehabilitation Unit: which are the main risk factors? A retrospective case-control study
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Vol. 24 - N. 15