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OR in the News (selected articles)

Moorthy A, Lowry D, Edgley C, Casey MB, Buggy D: Effect of perioperative cognitive behavioural therapy on chronic post-surgical pain among breast cancer patients with high pain catastrophising characteristics: protocol for a double-blinded randomised controlled trial. Trials 2022; 23: 66

September 21, 2022

Surgery is regarded as the primary treatment for breast cancer. Chronic post-surgical pain (CPSP) is a recognised complication after breast cancer surgery, and it is estimated to affect 20–30% of women. Pain catastrophizing has emerged as one of the most influential psychological variables associated with CPSP.
This trial will be a single-centre, prospective, double-blinded, superiority, randomised controlled trial (RCT). Patients scheduled for elective breast cancer surgery (wide local excision or mastectomy with or without axillary lymph node dissection) will be screened preoperatively for high pain catastrophising. Patients with high pain catastrophising, defined as a score of ≥ 24 on the Pain Catastrophising Scale will be deemed eligible for inclusion in the study. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive either a cognitive behavioural therapy or an educational mindfulness based programme during their perioperative period. The primary outcome is the Brief Pain Inventory short form average pain severity score at 3 months postoperatively. Secondary outcomes include patient- reported quality of recovery at days 1–2 after surgery, levels of pain catastrophising, reported depressed mood and anxiety.
To the best of our knowledge, this protocol describes the first RCT which directly examines the effect of perioperative cognitive behavioural therapy on CPSP among breast cancer patients with high pain catastrophising characteristics. The outcomes of this trial may have significant implications for these patients because perioperative cognitive behavioural therapy has the potential to become an important perioperative intervention to complement patient management.
Trial registration:
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04924010. Registered on 11 June 2021. All item from the World Health Organisation Trial Registration Data set have been included.
Breast cancer surgery, Chronic postsurgical pain, Mastectomy, Cognitive behavioural therapy, Psychological factors, Pain catastrophizing, Anxiety