Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Arm-Hand Swelling Linked To Number Of Lymph Nodes Removed During Breast Cancer Surgery

Date:
April 30, 2009
Source:
Medical College of Wisconsin
Summary:
In older breast cancer survivors, the number of lymph nodes removed during surgery and the presence of cancer in the lymph nodes were the two factors most directly linked to the development of lymphedema, swelling of the arm and hand, according to a new study.

In older breast cancer survivors, the number of lymph nodes removed during surgery and the presence of cancer in the lymph nodes were the two factors most directly linked to the development of lymphedema, swelling of the arm and hand, according to a study from the Medical College of Wisconsin's Center for Patient Care and Outcomes Research in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Related Articles


"Lymphedema causes physical discomfort and disability, as well as a cosmetic deformity which can lead to anxiety, depression and emotional distress that can affect a woman's activities of daily living and quality of life," says lead author Tina Yen, M.D., M.S., a Medical College of Wisconsin surgical oncologist who practices at Froedtert Hospital, a major hospital affiliate. "For these reasons, lymphedema is probably the most feared complication among breast cancer survivors. A better understanding of its risk factors is needed to help improve outcomes."

The study appears online, in advance of publication in the April issue of Annals of Surgical Oncology. It is significant because there are few large, population-based studies on this topic looking at long-term outcomes from more than one institution, and much of the existing literature was written 20-30 years ago, when more extensive surgeries to the breast and armpit (axilla) were performed and use of radiation therapy to the armpit was more common.

The researchers conducted three phone surveys between 2005 and 2007 among 1,338 community-dwelling women, ages 65-89 years, who were identified by Medicare claims as having undergone initial breast cancer surgery in 2003. These 1,338 women were treated by 707 surgeons. Four years after surgery, 14 percent self-reported having lymphedema.

Women who developed lymphedema were more likely to have more extensive disease, have undergone more extensive surgery and received chemotherapy. However, after controlling for a woman's age, tumor size, type of surgery, other therapies and surgeon volume, the removal of more than five lymph nodes and the presence of cancer in the lymph nodes were the only two factors that predicted a risk for lymphedema. Most importantly, the number of lymph nodes removed is more predictive of the risk for lymphedema rather than the type of axillary surgery performed (sentinel lymph node biopsy versus axillary node dissection).

If no lymph nodes were removed, the risk for lymphedema was 4.7 percent. Removal of up to five lymph nodes did not increase the risk of lymphedema, when compared to the removal of no lymph nodes. However, the removal of between six and 15 lymph nodes increased that risk five-fold, and removal of 16 or more lymph nodes increased the risk of developing lymphedema by more than ten-fold. Given these findings, all women undergoing any axillary surgery should still be counseled on their risk for lymphedema, although this risk may be minimal for women who have fewer than five lymph nodes removed.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Medical College of Wisconsin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Medical College of Wisconsin. "Arm-Hand Swelling Linked To Number Of Lymph Nodes Removed During Breast Cancer Surgery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423132709.htm>.
Medical College of Wisconsin. (2009, April 30). Arm-Hand Swelling Linked To Number Of Lymph Nodes Removed During Breast Cancer Surgery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423132709.htm
Medical College of Wisconsin. "Arm-Hand Swelling Linked To Number Of Lymph Nodes Removed During Breast Cancer Surgery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090423132709.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
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