eISSN: 1897-4309
ISSN: 1428-2526
Contemporary Oncology/Współczesna Onkologia
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vol. 22
Original paper

Evaluation of distant sequelae of breast cancer treatment among patients after breast-conserving surgery depending on the type of intervention in the axillary fossa

Iwona Głowacka-Mrotek, Magdalena Tarkowska, Tomasz Nowikiewicz, Zygmunt Siedlecki, Wojciech Zegarski, Wojciech Hagner

Contemp Oncol (Pozn) 2018; 22 (4): 240-246
Online publish date: 2018/12/31
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Aim of the study
The goal of this work was to assess upper-limb sequelae among patients undergoing breast-conserving therapy (BCT) for breast cancer 5–6 years after the surgical procedure.

Material and methods
A controlled clinical study was conducted on 128 patients who had undergone surgery 5–6 years prior. BCT + ALND (axillary lymph node dissection) was performed in 58 patients and 69 underwent BCT + SLND (sentinel lymph node dissection). Patients declared active participation in physiotherapy. The following parameters were assessed in studied subjects: range of motion in the shoulder joint, superficial sensation, upper limb circumference, skin sensation, and presence of winged scapula sign.

Five to six years after BCT, patients who had undergone BCT + ALND presented with significantly poorer outcomes concerning upper limb range of motion on the operated side compared to the BCT + SLND group with regard to the following features: flexion (p = 0.00004), external rotation (p = 0.0292), and internal rotation (p = 0.0448). However, no statistically significant differences were noted between compared groups with regard to upper limb circumference and sensation disturbances. Statistically significant differences between limb on the operated side (operated limb – OL) vs. contralateral limb (healthy limb – HL) were noted in the BCT + SLND group with regard to the range of motion in extension (p = 0.0004), external rotation (p = 0.0055), and internal rotation (p < 0.0001), as well as the occurrence of winged scapula sign (p < 0.0001) and sensation disturbances (p < 0.0001).

Our study demonstrated that both procedures are not free of distant sequelae, although the BCT + ALND group is more frequently affected.


breast conserving therapy, breast cancer, adverse effects, axillary lymphadenectomy, sentinel lymph node procedure

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