Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lymphedema Risk Greatly Increased With Boost Of Radiation To Axillary Nodes

Date:
November 15, 2006
Source:
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Summary:
The significant risk of developing lymphedema may outweigh the benefit of receiving an extra boost of radiation to lymph nodes possibly involved in early-stage breast cancer.

The significant risk of developing lymphedema may outweigh the benefit of receiving an extra boost of radiation to lymph nodes possibly involved in early-stage breast cancer. That is the conclusion of a study presented today at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Philadelphia.

Related Articles


Lymphedema is an uncomfortable swelling of a limb caused by a build-up of lymphatic fluid. This occurs when the lymph vessels are damaged and/or nodes are removed. The disruption of lymphatic flow prevents the proper drainage, causing a back-up of fluid. About 15-20% of women with breast cancer who have lymph nodes removed during surgery will develop lymphedema.

"We know radiation can increase one's risk of developing lymphedema, so it's important to determine whether the radiation technique or dose contributes," explained Shelly B. Hayes, M.D., a resident in the radiation oncology department at Fox Chase Cancer Center and lead author of the new study.

Standard therapy for women with early-stage breast cancer calls for radiation following a lumpectomy. The radiation field includes the whole affected breast and some of the lymph nodes under the arm, called the axillary lymph nodes.

Doctors may also irradiate the lymph nodes found in the upper axilla and above the clavicle (collar bone), depending on the number of nodes removed and the number that test positive for cancerous cells). Sometimes, an additional dose or "boost" of radiation is added to the axillary region.

"The reason we irradiate the lymph node regions is to prevent recurrence of disease in those locations," Hayes said. "When an aggressive lymph-node dissection is performed, the utility of additional radiation is questionable. This is the subject of some debate."

Hayes' study consisted of 2,581 women with early-stage breast cancer treated at Fox Chase Cancer Center with lumpectomy, axillary-node dissection and radiation between 1970 and 2005. A total of 2,174 patients (84%) were treated with radiation to the breast alone, 221patients (8.6%) were treated to the breast and supraclavicular lymph nodes (those above the collar bone) while 184 patients (7.1%) received an additional boost of radiation to the axillary nodes. The median follow-up was 81 months.

"The most striking result we found involved women who had more than four positive lymph nodes," explained Hayes. "They were four times more likely to develop lymphedema when treated with a boost, despite similar risks of nodal recurrences.

"Given the increased risk of lymphedema and the lack of evidence supporting improvements in nodal recurrences from the boost, we should carefully consider these results before delivering a boost to our patients," Hayes concluded.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fox Chase Cancer Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Lymphedema Risk Greatly Increased With Boost Of Radiation To Axillary Nodes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061108154842.htm>.
Fox Chase Cancer Center. (2006, November 15). Lymphedema Risk Greatly Increased With Boost Of Radiation To Axillary Nodes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061108154842.htm
Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Lymphedema Risk Greatly Increased With Boost Of Radiation To Axillary Nodes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061108154842.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins