A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY ON THE PREVALANCE AND RISK FACTORS OF LYMPHOEDEMA IN CARCINOMA BREAST
Keywords:Breast cancer, Radiotherapy, Lymphedema
Objectives: Lymphedema of the arm is a devastating complication of breast carcinoma treatment. There is a lack of research on the risk factors and methods of preventing upper limb lymphedema after breast carcinoma treatment. The aims of the study are to identify the prevalence and risk factors for upper limb lymphedema in patients attending a tertiary cancer care center in India.
Methods: 199 patients who attended the outpatient department of radiotherapy of IPGMER and SSKM, after undergoing surgical treatment for breast cancer between November 2014 to May 2016 were examined for the presence of lymphedema and its risk factors were analyzed. Lymphedema was defined as being present when there is an increase of >5% sum difference in the arm circumferences measured at different levels of both the upper limbs.
Results: Of the 199 patients analyzed, 85 (42.7%) patients were found to have lymphedema. The prevalence of lymphedema was 25% in those who underwent surgery alone and 54% in those who underwent chest wall radiotherapy also. Locally advanced stage of the disease, body mass index >25 kg/m2, number of lymph nodes removed during surgery, and adjuvant radiotherapy were found to be significant risk factors for the development of lymphedema.
Conclusion: Based on the results of this study, we recommend weight reduction and more judicious axillary lymph node dissection and use of postoperative radiotherapy as methods to prevent breast cancer-associated lymphedema in the tertiary cancer care centers in India.
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