This study aimed to investigate the possible changes in anterior chest tightness after breast cancer surgery. We also try to investigate whether anterior chest tightness is associated with upper-limb dysfunction after breast cancer surgery. Eighty-three women who underwent breast cancer surgery were evaluated before and 2 weeks, 3 months, and 9 months after surgery. Anterior chest tightness was measured using the length of the pectoralis minor muscle through 2 methods (length from the coracoid process to the fourth rib and linear distance from the table to the posterior acromion with supine position). Shoulder range of motion and the K-DASH (Korean version of Disability Arm and Shoulder Questionnaire) score were measured to quantify functional performance of upper limb. Anterior chest tightness of patients with breast cancer significantly increased after surgery. Upper limb dysfunction was observed such as reduced shoulder range-of-motion and increased K-DASH score over time. Increase in chest tightness was correlated with shoulder range-of-motion reduction. Chest tightness was not correlated with K-DASH score directly. However, shoulder range-of-motion reduction was significantly correlated with K-DASH score. Chest tightness and upper limb dysfunction increased in breast cancer survivor. Increase in chest tightness after surgery is associated with upper limb dysfunction and careful attention is required.
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