4 years ago

Lymphedema following gynecological cancer: Results from a prospective, longitudinal cohort study on prevalence, incidence and risk factors

Cancer-related lymphedema is a debilitating condition that adversely influences function, health and quality of life. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence, incidence, and risk factors of lower-limb lymphedema pre- through to 24months post-surgery for gynecological cancer. Methods A clinic-based sample of women (n=408) with gynecological cancer participated in a prospective, longitudinal study (2008–2011) using self-reported measures (swelling in one or both legs) and objectively measured lymphedema (bioimpedance spectroscopy) at baseline (pre-surgery), six weeks–three months, 6–12months, and 15–24months post-surgery. Results At pre-surgery, 15% of women self-reported lymphedema and 27% had measurable evidence of lymphedema. By 24months post-surgery, incidence of new self-reported or measured lymphedema was 45% and 37%, respectively. Three-quarters of these new cases presented by 12-months post-treatment. While lymphedema was transient for some women, 60% had persistent lymphedema. More extensive lymph node dissection, receipt of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, increasing body mass index, insufficient levels of physical activity, diagnosis of vulvar/vaginal cancer and presence of pre-treatment lymphedema were identified as potential risk factors (p<0.05). Conclusion Findings support the need for integration of pre-surgical assessment, and prospective, post-treatment surveillance of lymphedema into gynecological cancer care. Future research exploring the role of maintaining healthy body weight, regular physical activity and education about early detection of lymphedema to improve gynecological cancer survivorship is warranted.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0090825817308995

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