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Pain associated with cancer and its treatment continues to be a significant concern for those persons diagnosed with the illness. This article will focus on pain syndromes associated with surgical interventions for women with breast cancer. Postmastectomy pain syndromes including postaxillary dissection pain and phantom breast pain will be described in terms of their nature, incidence, and temporal course based on current literature findings. Treatment strategies and implications for nursing interventions employed in caring for these women will also be discussed. Nurses can use information about postmastectomy pain syndromes to educate their patients, to cooperate in successfully managing effects of the disease and treatment, and to help women cope after breast cancer surgery.
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