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Lymphoedema of the lower extremities after surgery and radiotherapy for cancer of the cervix.

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Plastic- and Hand Surgery Occupational Therapy Unit, University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden.


Fifty-four women were examined to find out the incidence of lymphoedema after treatment of cancer of the uterine cervix. The women had all had total hysterectomy and excision of the pelvic lymph nodes and 53 had also received radiotherapy. The character and severity of problems experienced by the patients in their daily living were assessed by an interview. Twenty-two of the patients (41%) had a unilateral increase in volume of 5% or more in one leg compared with 15 healthy controls in whom the difference between limbs did not exceed 4%. Of the 54 patients 15 (28%) had a slight swelling (> 5% volume increase); 3 (6%) had moderate swelling (> 10% volume increase); and 4 (7%) had severe swelling (> 15% volume increase), which was interpreted as treatment-induced lymphoedema. Twelve (22%) of the patients had lymphoedema that was severe enough to cause symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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