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ASBrS 2017: Risk of Lymphedema Related to Breast Cancer

Posted: Thursday, May 4, 2017

Based on the findings of a large cohort study presented by Nguyen et al at the recent American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS) Annual Meeting (Abstract 257052) in Las Vegas, Nevada, the risk of lymphedema related to breast cancer is multifactorial and not impacted by axillary surgery alone. The rates of this complication were higher in patients treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and axillary lymph node dissection as well as in those with a more advanced stage of disease and a higher body mass index. In addition, adjuvant radiation therapy was linked to a higher risk of lymphedema in patients undergoing axillary lymph node dissection but not sentinel lymph node biopsy.

For their analysis, the investigators used the Olmsted County Rochester Epidemiology Project Breast Cancer Cohort, which is a population-based sample of all incident breast cancer cases diagnosed in Olmsted County, Minnesota, residents from 1990 to 2010. To determine definite or probable breast cancer–related lymphedema in nearly 1,800 patients with stage 0 to 3 breast cancer, with a median follow-up of 10 years, patient charts were reviewed both electronically and manually.