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Assessment of Lymphedema Risk Following Lymph Node Dissection and Radiation Therapy for Primary Breast Cancer

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Annual summary rept. 11 Aug 2004-10 Aug 2005

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Lymphedema is a common complication of primary breast cancer therapy. It is a chronic, insidiously progressive, and potentially devastating condition. Radiation increases patients lymphedema risk since conventional fields encompass residual functioning lymphatics. Imaging technologies may identify these lymphatics and allow the construction of radiation fields that minimize their radiation exposure while preserving loco-regional tumor control. This study uses SPECT scanning to anatomically localize lymphatics critical for arm drainage after surgical removal of axillary lymph nodes. The study will determine the feasibility of fusing SPECT images with CT scans used in radiation planning to quantify radiation dosimetry. The study tests the hypothesis that changes in arm volume will correlate with radiation doses delivered to lymphatic critical for arm drainage. The fact that higher doses of radiation and larger radiation ports are associated with an increased incidence of lymphedema volume up arrow 150ml., particularly severe lymphedema volume up arrow 400ml., supports this hypothesis. The proposed study realizes the BCRP goals by elucidating a novel means of refining breast cancer treatment to minimize patients risk of developing the most prevalent and dreaded complication of conventional primary therapy, lymphedema.

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  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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