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Saudi Med J. 2013 Jan;34(1):62-6.

Lymphedema. A significant health problem for women with breast cancer in Jordan.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, King Hussein Cancer Center, Al-Jubeiha, Amman, Jordan. bmorcos@doctor.com



To investigate the frequency of breast cancer related lymphedema in our region, and to heighten its awareness among health workers.


This is a cross-sectional study of patients treated with breast cancer at King Hussein Cancer Center, Amman, Jordan, between January 2004 and December 2009. We excluded patients with bilateral breast cancer. A total of 515 patients were included. We asked the patients to complete questionnaires that included questions related to arm symptoms. Lymphedema was defined as 2 cm or more difference between the 2 upper limbs' girths.


The incidence of lymphedema was 21.1%. The subjective evaluation by the patients overestimated the figure (35%). Most patients (75.3%) had limb symptoms, such as pain, numbness, and limitation of movement. In most patients with lymphedema, the symptoms were mild, but in 17 patients (15.6%) the effects were severe.


Lymphedema continues to be a common health problem in our region. Most patients have mild lymphedema, but in some patients the effects on daily activities are severe. It is important for health workers to understand the significance of this problem and its associated morbidity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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