Lymphedema: Separating fact from fiction

Sarah A. McLaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Lymphedema is a feared complication of cancer treatment and one that negatively impacts survivorship. The incidence of breast cancer-related lymphedema ranges from 6% to 70%, but lymphedema may be a common and under-reported morbidity. No standard guidelines for its diagnosis and assessment exist. Although the true etiology of lymphedema remains unknown, radiation, chemotherapy, type of breast surgery, and extent of axillary surgery are commonly cited risk factors. However, the relationship between the number of nodes removed and the risk of lymphedema is not clearly correlated. Clinical trials are focusing on ways to reduce the need for axillary dissection even in the setting of a positive sentinel node, to help minimize axillary morbidity. Risk-reduction practices, including avoidance of skin puncture and blood pressures in the ipsilateral upper extremity, and precautionary behaviors such as wearing compression garments during air travel continue to be advocated by the medical and survivor communities, despite a lack of rigorous evidence supporting their benefit. Emerging data support exercise in at-risk and affected women with lymphedema when started gradually and increased cautiously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalOncology
Volume26
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012

Fingerprint

Lymphedema
Air Travel
Morbidity
Clothing
Risk Reduction Behavior
Punctures
Upper Extremity
Survivors
Dissection
Breast
Survival Rate
Clinical Trials
Guidelines
Exercise
Radiation
Blood Pressure
Drug Therapy
Skin
Incidence
Neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

McLaughlin, S. A. (2012). Lymphedema: Separating fact from fiction. Oncology, 26(3), 1-11.

Lymphedema : Separating fact from fiction. / McLaughlin, Sarah A.

In: Oncology, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2012, p. 1-11.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

McLaughlin, SA 2012, 'Lymphedema: Separating fact from fiction', Oncology, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 1-11.
McLaughlin SA. Lymphedema: Separating fact from fiction. Oncology. 2012;26(3):1-11.
McLaughlin, Sarah A. / Lymphedema : Separating fact from fiction. In: Oncology. 2012 ; Vol. 26, No. 3. pp. 1-11.
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