BACKGROUND: In breast cancer patients, late-term upper limb sequelae, such as shoulder pain and impaired shoulder function, remain common after primary breast cancer surgery. The aim of this trial is to evaluate whether an expert assessment of shoulder impairments, followed by an individualised treatment plan, is superior to a minimal physiotherapeutic rehabilitation program in reducing shoulder symptoms, among women with late-term shoulder impairments after primary breast cancer.
METHODS/DESIGN: The study is designed as a stratified, parallel-group, assessor-blinded, randomised, controlled trial conducted in Denmark; 130 participants with late-term shoulder impairments 3-7 years after primary surgery for breast cancer will be recruited. Participants will be randomised (allocation 1:1) to either an expert assessment of shoulder impairments followed by an individualised treatment plan or to follow a minimal physiotherapeutic rehabilitation program delivered in a pamphlet. The primary outcome will be a change in shoulder pain and function from baseline to 12 weeks after initiating the treatment, as measured by the patient-reported outcome Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) questionnaire.
DISCUSSION: There has been an insufficient focus in research and clinical practice on late-term shoulder impairment in women following surgery for breast cancer. This trial will focus on interventions towards late-term shoulder impairments and is expected to provide evidence-based knowledge to physiotherapists and women about the management of shoulder pain and impaired shoulder function.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT05277909. Registered on 11 March 2022.
Bibliographical note© 2022. The Author(s).
- Breast Neoplasms/surgery
- Exercise Therapy/methods
- Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
- Shoulder Pain/diagnosis
- Treatment Outcome
- Study protocol
- Randomised controlled trial
- Breast cancer
- Late-term shoulder impairments