Community-based outpatient rehabilitation for the treatment of breast cancer-related upper extremity disability: an evaluation of practice-based evidence

Breast Cancer. 2022 Jul 21. doi: 10.1007/s12282-022-01388-4. Online ahead of print.


PURPOSE: To evaluate the impact and acceptability of outpatient physical or occupational therapy (PT/OT) for breast cancer survivors (BCS) with varying levels of upper extremity disability (UED).

METHODS: We retrospectively extracted patient and therapy characteristics, UED measured by quick-disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand (QuickDASH, 0-100 pts.), and patient-rated acceptability (1-item, 0-10 pts) from rehabilitation charts of BCS who completed cancer-specialized PT/OT provided by a single national institution in 2019. We summarized characteristics and acceptability using descriptive statistics, then used established parameters to group BCS by baseline UED severity: high- (QuickDASH > 31.5), moderate- (QuickDASH = 18.5-31.5), or low-UED (QuickDASH = 13-18.5). To evaluate within-group pre-to-post QuickDASH change, we used paired samples t test (p < 0.01), then calculated the proportion who achieved the minimally clinical important difference (MCID, 15.9 points). To compare between-groups difference in QuickDASH improvement, we used Kruskal-Wallis test and Chi-squared test.

RESULTS: Patients (N = 417) were 59.89 ± 12.06 years old, 99% female, and attended approximately 10 PT/OT sessions (IQR = 6.0-16.0). Most had high baseline UED (62%), followed by moderate (25%) or low UED (13%). For each severity group, mean pre-to-post change in QuickDASH was significant: high-UED (M∆ = 25.13 ± 20.33, d = 1.24, p < 0.01), moderate-UED (M∆ = 11.36 ± 11.9, d = 0.95, p < 0.01), and low-UED (M∆ = 4.84 ± 9.15, d = 0.53, p < 0.01). Most with high UED achieved the MCID (n = 176, 68.2%). In the moderate- and low-UED groups 44% (n = 46) and 4% (n = 2) achieved the MCID, respectively. Acceptability was high (n = 167, Median = 10).

CONCLUSION: Outpatient cancer rehabilitation is associated with significant improvement in UED for BCS and was acceptable to patients regardless of UED severity at baseline.

PMID:35864325 | DOI:10.1007/s12282-022-01388-4

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