1 Palliative Medicine Program, Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.
2 Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN, USA.
3 Medical Oncology, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN, USA.
Chronic post-mastectomy pain (cPMP), including post-lumpectomy pain, is common with no established ways of treatment. We treated three consecutive patients referred with cPMP with Scrambler therapy (ST), a non-invasive electrical neurocutaneous stimulation. Treatment was given across the area of pain following the dermatomes for 45 minutes daily, for several consecutive days until relief, and then was repeated as needed. The ST MC5A device synthesizes 16 different waveforms that resemble action potentials, delivered to the surface receptors of the c-fibers, to send “non-pain” information along the damaged pathways to reduce central sensitization. All three had marked (over 75%) and sustained (months) reduction of allodynia, hyperalgesia, and pain. All reported marked improvements in their quality of life and normal function. One woman was able to stop chronic opioid use. No side effects were observed. Scrambler therapy is a promising way to relieve cancer and other types of neuropathic pain, and may be helpful in cPMP. Further prospective trials are warranted.
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