J Korean Acad Community Health Nurs.  2008 Sep;19(3):398-407.

Change in the Sensation of the Arms, the Range of Motion in the Shoulders and Depression in Breast Cancer Patients

  • 1Red Cross College of Nursing, Korea. susana21@redcross.ac.kr


The purpose of this study was to examine the association among change in the sensation of the arms, the range of motion in the shoulders and depression in breast cancer patients. METHOD: This is a descriptive study on correlation. The participants were 132 patients who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had mastectomy at a university hospital, and had participated in a breast cancer self-help group. The degree of depression was assessed by SCL-90-R scores. Collected data were analyzed with SPSS 12.0 for Windows.
The participants complained of 'heaviness' as the most frequent and serious symptom of change in the sensation of the arms. 'Completely zip up the dress with a back-fastening zipper' was the most difficult motion of the shoulders. Participants who were in a worse stage of disease were in a worse condition in shoulder functions, and on a higher degree of depression. The degree of change in sensation and shoulder functions showed a positive correlation with each other, and both of them showed a negative correlation with the degree of depression.
Sensation and motion change in the arms and the shoulders were common phenomena that affected depression in patients who had mastectomy. Nurses should consider not only depression but also discomfort of the arms and the shoulders for patients with mastectomy.


Breast Cancer; Range of Motion; Depression
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