We aimed to determine the frequency of fibromyalgia syndrome (FM) in operated breast cancer patients and to research the relationship between FM and the severity of fatigue and quality of life in these breast cancer patients.
The demographic data of 101 operated breast cancer patients were recorded. The patients who had pain were then classified as having regional pain (RP), widespread pain without FM (WP), and widespread pain with FM (WFM). The FM diagnosis was based on the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria. The severity of fatigue was evaluated with the Brief Fatigue Inventory, the disease impact was evaluated with the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), and the quality of life was evaluated with the European Organization for Research on Treatment of Cancer questionnaire Quality of Life-C30 (EORTC-QoL-C30).
There was no pain in 38 (37.6%) patients, whereas there was pain in 63 (62.4%) patients (N = 42, 41.6% had RP, N = 21, 20.8% had WP). Ten (9.9%) of the entire patient cohort were diagnosed as having FM according to the ACR criteria. There were no differences among the 3 groups in respect to demographic characteristics when patients were classified as RP (N = 42), WP (N = 11), and WFM (N = 10) groups. While there were negative correlations between the FIQ and EORTC-QoL-C30-function score (r = −0.727) and EORTC-QoL-C30-global score (r = −0.488), there was a positive correlation between the FIQ and EORTC-QoL-C30-symptom score (r = 0.726).
We note that the frequency of FM in the operated breast cancer patients in this study was higher than that reported in normal populations in the literature. Also, we found that the presence of FM had negative effects on the quality of life of the breast cancer patients. Accordingly, in the evaluation of widespread pain and complaints of fatigue in long-surviving breast cancer patients, after metastatic disease is excluded, the probability of FM should be kept in mind, so that appropriate treatment can be initiated to improve their functional status and quality of life.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Burckhardt CS, Jones KD (2005) Effects of chronic widespread pain on the health status and quality of life of women after breast cancer surgery. Health Qual Life Outcomes 3:30
Peto R, Boreham J, Clarke M et al (2000) UK and USA breast cancer deaths down 25% in year 2000 at ages 20–69. Lancet 355:1822
Bardwell WA, Major JM, Rock CL et al (2004) Health-related quality of life in women previously treated for early-stage breast cancer. Psychooncology 13(9):595–604
Yates PM, Edwards HE, Nash RE et al (2002) Barriers to effective cancer pain management. A survey of hospitalized cancer patients in Australia. J Pain Symptom Manage 23:393–405
Amichetti M, Caffo O (2003) Pain after quadranectomy and radiotherapy for early-stage breast cancer: incidence, characteristics and influence on quality of life. Oncology 65:23–28
Caffo O, Amichetti M, Ferro A et al (2003) Pain and quality of life after surgery for breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 80:39–48
Fortner BV, Stepanski EJ, Wang SC et al (2002) Sleep and quality of life in breast cancer patients. J Pain Symptom Manage 24:471–480
Torres Lacomba M, Mayoral del Moral O, Coperias Zazo JL et al (2010) Incidence of myofascial pain syndrome in breast cancer surgery: a prospective study. Clin J Pain 26(4):320–325
Randal J (1998) Post-mastectomy pain found to be common: treatment options sparse, but growing. J Natl Cancer Inst 90:731–732
Stevens PE, Dibble SL, Miaskowski C (1995) Prevalence, characteristics and impact of postmastectomy pain syndrome: an investigation of women’s experiences. Pain 61:61–68
Wallace MS, Wallace AM, Lee J et al (1996) Pain after breast surgery: a survey of 282 women. Pain 66:195–205
Weir PT, Harlan GA, Nkoy FL et al (2006) The incidence of fibromyalgia and its associated comorbidities: a population-based retrospective cohort study based on International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision codes. J Clin Rheumatol 12(3):124–128
Staud R, Cannon RC (2003) Temporal summation of pain from mechanical stimulation of muscle tissue in normal controls and subjects with fibromyalgia. Pain 102:87–95
Waylonis GW, Perkins RH (1994) Post-traumatic fibromyalgia: a long-term follow up. Am J Phys Med Rehabil 73:403–412
Warner E, Keshavjee al-N, Shupak R et al (1997) Rheumatic symptoms following adjuvant therapy for breast cancer. Am J Clin Oncol 20(3):322–326
Nyrén O, Yin L, Josefsson S et al (1998) Risk of connective tissue disease and related disorders among women with breast implants: a nation-wide retrospective cohort study in Sweden. BMJ 316(7129):417–422
Piller NB, Thelander A (1998) Treatment of chronic postmastectomy lymphedema with low level laser therapy: a 2.5 year followup. Lymphology 31:74–86
Vilholm OJ, Cold S, Rasmussen L et al (2008) The postmastectomy pain syndrome: an epidemiological study on the prevalence of chronic pain after surgery for breast cancer. Br J Cancer 99(4):604–610
Eyigor S, Karapolat H, Korkmaz OK et al (2009) The frequency of fibromyalgia syndrome and quality of life in hospitalized cancer patients. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl) 18(2):195–201
Wolfe F, Smythe HA, Yunus MB et al (1990) The American College of Rheumatology 1990 Criteria for the Classification of Fibromyalgia. Report of the Multicenter Criteria Committee. Arthritis Rheum 33:160–172
Mendoza TR, Wang XS, Cleeland CS et al (1999) The rapid assessment of fatigue severity in cancer patients: use of the Brief Fatigue Inventory. Cancer 85:1186–1196
Burckhardt CS, Clark SR, Bennett RM (1991) The Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire: development and validation. J Rheumatol 18:728–734
Aaronson NK, Ahmedzai S, Bergman B et al (1993) The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-c30: a quality-of-life instrument for use in international clinical trials in oncology. J Natl Cancer Inst 85:365–376
Topbas M, Cakirbay H, Gulec H et al (2005) The prevalence of fibromyalgia in women aged 20–64 in Turkey. Scand J Rheumatol 34:140–144
Chen ML, Chang HK (2004) Physical symptom profiles of depressed and nondepressed patients with cancer. Palliat Med 18:712–718
Herndon JE, Fleishman S, Kornblith AB et al (1999) Is quality of life predictive of the survival of patients with advanced nonsmall cell lung carcinoma? Cancer 85:333–340
Hwang SS, Chang VT, Cogswell J et al (2002) Clinical relevance of fatigue levels in cancer patients at a VA medical center. Cancer 94:2481–2489
Poole K, Fallowfield LJ (2002) The psychological impact of post-operative arm morbidity following axillary surgery for breast cancer: a critical review. Breast 11:81–87
Rietman JS, Dijkstra PU, Debreczeni R et al (2004) Impairments, disabilities and health related quality of life after treatment for breast cancer: a follow-up study 2.7 years after surgery. Disabil Rehabil 26:78–84
Henry NL, Giles JT, Ang D et al (2008) Prospective characterization of musculoskeletal symptoms in early stage breast cancer patients treated with aromatase inhibitors. Breast Cancer Res Treat 111(2):365–372
Conflict of interest
We have no conflict of interest.
About this article
Cite this article
Akkaya, N., Atalay, N.S., Selcuk, S.T. et al. Frequency of fibromyalgia syndrome in breast cancer patients. Int J Clin Oncol 18, 285–292 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10147-012-0377-9
- Breast cancer
- Chronic pain
- FM syndrome
- Quality of life