Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 117, Issue 3, pp 559–560 | Cite as

Measuring lymphedema in patients with breast cancer: go with the flow?

  • Kelly K. Hunt
  • Robert Askew
  • Janice N. Cormier
Invited Commentary

Lymphedema continues to be one of the most dreaded complications of breast cancer treatment. The removal of lymph nodes and disruption of axillary lymphatic channels are believed to be the cause of lymphedema, but the use of radiation therapy also plays a role and may in fact enhance the effects of the surgical trauma. It was hoped that the introduction of sentinel lymph node surgery for axillary staging would eliminate lymphedema after breast cancer surgery, however, recent studies have reported that up to 7% of patients will have measurable differences in the ipsilateral arm and up to 10% will have subjective reports of lymphedema after sentinel lymph node surgery alone [1, 2, 3]. The results of these studies suggest that it is not simply the number of lymph nodes removed but a number of other factors, including age and body mass index (BMI), have been implicated as well. The true incidence of breast-cancer related lymphedema is still largely unknown, because of the variety of...


Breast Cancer Lymphedema Lymphatic Flow Target Treatment Strategy Bioimpedance Spectroscopy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly K. Hunt
    • 1
  • Robert Askew
    • 1
  • Janice N. Cormier
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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