Lore Dams publicly defended her PhD with the title 'Towards a better understanding of pain after surgery for breast cancer - a biopsychosocial perspective' on the 20th of October.
In front of an international jury, peers, family members and cancer survivors, Lore presented her work clearly and with enthusiasm.
Lore divided her presentation into two parts: evaluation and treatment.
First, she presented the results of her systematic review and meta-analysis on quantitative sensory testing (QST) in women after breast cancer surgery. Second, the reliability (absolute and relative) of a comprehensive QST protocol used in this population was discussed. As a final piece of the diagnosis part, Lore examined whether questionnaire-based sensory profiling in breast cancer survivors could replace QST as these protocols can be time consuming, complex to interpret and difficult to access.
For the treatment part, Lore presented us the results of the large randomised controlled trial on the effectiveness of pain science education after breast cancer surgery (the EduCan Trial). Unfortunately no difference was found in pain intensity, somatosensory nor psychosocial functioning both in the short and long term, compared with a group that received a biomedical pain education. Lore continued her presentation discussing biopsychosocial risk factors for pain and pain-related disability one year after surgery for breast cancer.
Q&A by jury and public led to interesting insights. Even though, pain neuroscience education was found not to be more effective than a biomedical approach, Lore suggests not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. She recommends, among other things, that permission is asked before education is given, and that the clinician should keep in the mind the timing of education.
Congratulations Dr. Lore Dams, PhD on delivering this great piece of work!