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Physiother Theory Pract. 2015 May;31(4):283-7. doi: 10.3109/09593985.2014.994249. Epub 2014 Dec 24.

Self-measurement of upper extremity volume in women post-breast cancer: reliability and validity study.

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Clalit , Tel Aviv , Israel and.



Secondary lymphedema is a chronic swelling of the upper limb that may occur after treatment for breast cancer. During the acute phase, intensive treatment with a therapist is provided, while during the maintenance phase the patient needs to detect any re-swelling by self-examination.


To assess the test-retest reliability and the concurrent validity of self-measurement upper limb volume among women post-breast cancer.


A cross-sectional study of 17 women post-breast cancer that experience a period of intensive unilateral upper limb lymphedema treatment in the past.


On day 1 and day 10 at the clinic, the physiotherapist measured the volume of the upper limbs with the water displacement method (i.e. the "gold standard" for volume measure) as well as with the more common method of plastic tape. The participants performed self-measurement twice with the paper tape under the supervision of a physiotherapist in the clinic. After a week the participants performed self-measurement at home with the paper tape.


The intra-class correlations measures indicated excellent values for the self-measure tape measurements on the operated side (0.97-0.99) as well as on the opposite arm (0.96-0.99). The self-measurement revealed a moderate association with the criterion measure, the water displacement (rp 0.59-0.68, (pā€‰<ā€‰0.05)), and strong concurrent validity with therapist tape measurements (rp 0.88-0.95, (pā€‰<ā€‰0.05)).


Women post-breast cancer can self-measure upper limb volume using a paper tape which is both, reliable and valid.


Breast cancer; lymphedema; reliability; self-measure; validity

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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