Breast cancer is a health specter that haunts women but a new study from Breast Cancer Care and the University of Southampton has found that 34 percent of women currently suffering from secondary breast cancer live unnecessarily with uncontrolled pain.
The study which was lead by the Dean of Faculty of Health Sciences at the University, Professor Jessica Corner, published the results of the study that was funded by Breast Cancer Campaign in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management and surveyed 232 women.
Of those surveyed it was found that 27 percent had shortness of breath and 26 percent experience nausea; both of which can be managed with the proper changes in medication. It was the women whose breast cancer had spread to their bones who experienced the most pain, 44 percent.
One of the problems is that as the prognosis of secondary breast cancer improves so does the need for ongoing symptom control as well as emotional and practical support. Adding to the problem is that currently those working in the palliative care teams, which concentrate on end of life care, aren’t meeting the needs of women who have been living with secondary breast cancer and didn’t fall into that end of life category.
As Elizabeth Reed, Secondary Breast Cancer Research Nurse and principal investigator of the research said:
“No woman should live with controllable pain or without the information and advice they need to make decisions about their own health. Developments in treatment mean that those living with secondary breast cancer are now considered cancer survivors rather than necessarily at the end of life. It is therefore vital that healthcare professionals are equipped with the knowledge and expertise they need to offer women with secondary breast cancer adequate symptom control and the medical and psychological support they need.”