Lymphedema: Incidence, Time Course, and Etiology in Long-term Survivors of a Breast Cancer Cohort
Final rept 1 Sep 94-28 Feb 97
MEMORIAL SLOAN-KETTERING CANCER CENTER NEW YORK
Pagination or Media Count:
Barring recurrence, lymphedema is the most dreaded sequelae of breast cancer treatment. Nevertheless, there have been no cohort studies or comprehensive studies of large numbers heretofore. We built upon an existing data base on a cohort of consecutively treated patients from 1976 to 1978. Of the 543 ten-year recurrence-free survivors 165 are dead 64 cannot speak or refused 42 are lost to followup 272 women are study subjects on whom circumferential arm measurements and interviews were obtained. We evaluated physical characteristics, cancer characteristics and specific intraoperative and early postoperative treatment variables and many factors present in the subsequent years, including specific illnesses, general medical status, contralateral breast cancer development, activity in housework, occupation, and leisure, arm exercise, infection and injury. The incidence of any measurable lymphedema in these long-term survivors was 27, whereas 11 had lymphedema causing a 2 inch greater circumference on the treated side. Of the 28 factors evaluated, only two were statistically significantly associated with lymphedema the history of infection or injuries requiring antibiotics and amount of weight gain since treatment. In summary, women should continue to be counseled and perhaps advised even more strongly to avoid infections. Furthermore, even though there are many benefits to avoiding weight gain, the predisposition to lymphedema may be another reason.
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medicine and Medical Research