Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 599–604 | Cite as

Can ICF model for patients with breast-cancer-related lymphedema predict quality of life?

  • Jau-Yih Tsauo
  • Hsiu-Chuan Hung
  • Han-Ju Tsai
  • Chiun-Sheng HuangEmail author
Original Article


Goal of work

The aim of the study was to investigate if the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) model with clinical data from patients with breast-cancer-related lymphedema can predict their health-related quality of life (HRQL).

Materials and methods

Sixty-one patients with breast-cancer-related lymphedema were recruited. Data were collected from records, including age, type(s) of surgery, number of dissected lymph nodes and history of radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, duration of lymphedema, and duration between surgery and enrollment. Excessive arm volume, average arm symptom, function of upper extremity (U/E), and HRQL were assessed four times during and after patients’ treatment of lymphedema.


The ICF model accounted for 20.5% to 55.6% variance in each domain of HRQL. Activity and participation reflected by U/E function were the most important factor, significantly predicting every domain of HRQL. Among measured impairments, average arm symptom was found to be most correlated with U/E function (r = 0.590, P < 0.05).


The ICF model consisting of clinical measures for patients with breast-cancer-related lymphedema can predict their HRQL. Activity and participation were the most important component. Arm symptoms rather than arm volume significantly correlated with U/E function. This might suggest that reducing arm symptoms is relatively more important while treating patients with breast-cancer-related lymphedema.


Breast cancer Lymphedema Impairment Disability Quality of life 



The authors thank the participants and the National Science Council of the Republic of China for financial support under grant nos. NSC93-2314-B-002-118 and NSC94-2314-B-002-074, which made this study possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jau-Yih Tsauo
    • 1
  • Hsiu-Chuan Hung
    • 1
  • Han-Ju Tsai
    • 1
  • Chiun-Sheng Huang
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.School and Graduate Institute of Physical Therapy, College of MedicineNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Surgery, College of MedicineNational Taiwan University and HospitalTaipeiTaiwan

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