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Lymphology. 2012 Dec;45(4):154-64.

Lymphedema of the operated and irradiated breast in breast cancer patients following breast conserving surgery and radiotherapy.

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  • 1UZ Brussel, Breast Clinic, Department of Physical Therapy, Belgium. nmadriae@vub.ac.be

Abstract

The National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference on Treatment of Early Stage Breast Cancer in 1990 indicated that breast conserving surgery with radiotherapy is the primary therapy for the majority of women with early stage breast cancer. Despite good aesthetic results, a remarkable number of patients suffer from lymphedema of the operated and irradiated breast. 131 study participants scored 8 subjective symptoms of breast edema on a scale from 0 to 10 and completed the EORTC QLQ-BR23 questionnaire to assess the health related quality of life among breast cancer patients. Incidence of breast edema, up to 5 years following surgery, was 75.5%. There was a significant positive correlation between breast edema and body mass index. Breast edema also correlated significantly with chemotherapy treatment, anti-hormone therapy, age, and all aspects of quality of life, except sexual functioning, sexual enjoyment, and upset by hair loss. There were no significant differences in breast edema related to the post- operative period, the level of nodal dissection, preoperative bra cup size, tumor location and whether the surgery was performed on the dominant side. Despite the benefits of breast conserving surgery and radiotherapy, breast edema is a common complication that lowers quality of life significantly.

PMID:
23700762
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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