Uncovering mechanisms responsible for shoulder morbidity following radiotherapy
The number of breast cancer survivors in the United States is rapidly growing due to advancements in the early detection and treatment of tumors. Upwards of 1/3rd of breast cancer patients whose diagnosis is treated conservatively (including surgery and radiotherapy) experience pain and restricted mobility within their treated shoulder within 5 years of treatment. Given the growing number of cancer survivors, clinicians need a better understanding regarding the time progression and pathophysiology of these shoulder complications. Our lab is currently examining breast cancer patients undergoing a variety of radiation therapy treatments to understand how the shoulder joint and its underlying muscles are affected after treatment is completed. With this information, we can better a patient’s clinical care to improve their post-cancer quality of life. This project is generously supported by a Susan G. Komen fellowship for Dr. Lipps.