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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1992 Feb;71(1):12-4.

Lymphedema 30 years after radical mastectomy.

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Rehabilitation Service and Occupational Therapy, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021.


Lymphedema is a common and often distressing consequence of the management of breast cancer. This is the first report of new onset lymphedema 30 yr after radical mastectomy for the management of breast cancer. The patient's swelling began 10 days after commencing daily finger sticks to follow blood sugar, stemming from a recent diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. If proper precautions had been observed, swelling may not have developed. The patient had marked reduction of her edema with appropriate use of graded compression garments and self administered massage therapy, after early recognition and prompt intervention into her problem. This case highlights efforts that need to be made to prevent the development of edema.

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