Congrats to Dr. Elien Van der Gucht

September 23, 2021

Pain Science Education after breast cancer surgery by Dr. Elien Van der Gucht 

On 22 September 2021 we had the honour and pleasure to join the public defense of Elien Van der Gucht her PhD research on 'pain education after breast cancer surgery'. During a very well-structured and visualised presentation, she explained her 4 years of hard work in 30 minutes! First, Elien showed us the results her systematic review on the effectiveness of a perioperative pain science education program, published here in Clinical Rehabilitation. Second, the reliability and validity of the Pain Disability Index in the breast cancer population was discussed. Third, the results of the large randomised controlled trial on the effectiveness of pain science education after breast cancer surgery (the EduCan Trial) were presented. Although, no evidence for pain science education for improving pain-related disability and return to work after breast cancer surgery was found, this clinical trial has learned us some important lessons on delivering pain science education. After the presentation, Elien was questioned by an international jury. A critical, constructive discussion led to the conclusion that the question should not be whether educational interventions are necessary, but rather how the delivery method, number of sessions, timing and other factors could be refined to achieve the intended behavior change.

Congrats Dr. Van der Gucht with this wonderful piece of work!