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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 73-78

Risk factors of upper-arm lymphedema after breast cancer treatment

Department of Surgery, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Mokhtar Hamood
Department of Surgery, Cairo University, Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JCMRP.JCMRP_6_17

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Background Lymphedema is one of the most problematic complications after breast cancer treatment. The risk factors (RFs) for breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) are multifactorial and are not fully understood. Aim The aim of this study was to determine the RFs for breast cancer-related upper-arm lymphedema. Patients and methods This is a case–control study including patients with arm lymphedema as cases and patients without arm lymphedema as controls. The included patients had breast carcinoma (n = 128) and all had operable breast cancer that could undergo locoregional therapy (surgery ± radiotherapy). Diagnosis of lymphedema was made by the measurement method, in which a difference of up to 2 cm either above or below the olecranon process between the two arms is generally accepted for diagnosis of lymphedema. Assessment of lymphedema and RFs was performed by logistic regression. Results Univariate analysis showed significant difference between the groups of patients with and those without lymphedema with respect to older age (0.016), BMI greater than 30 (0.007), hard work (0.004), ipsilateral dominant arm (0.021), history of injury (0.001) and infection (0.001) to the ipsilateral arm, positive lymphadenopathy (0.020), advanced stage of cancer (0.009), positive human epidermal growth factor receptor-2/neu receptor (0.001), level III axillary dissection (0.001), and lack of information about BCRL and/or not following prophylactic advice (0.001). Meanwhile, multiple logistic regression analysis showed only old age (0.005), history of injury (0.016), cellulitis (0.033), level III axillary dissection (0.011), lack of information about BCRL, and not following prophylactic advice (0.012) to have a significant relation to lymphedema. Conclusion Healthcare personnel and patients must be aware of the prevention and early treatment of lymphedema.

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