Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 853–857

Body mass index and breast cancer treatment-related lymphedema

  • Sheila H. Ridner
  • Mary S. Dietrich
  • Bob R. Stewart
  • Jane M. Armer
Short Communication

Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose was to examine longitudinally the influence of body mass index (BMI) and obesity on the development of breast cancer treatment-related lymphedema. We asked, does elevated BMI increase lymphedema risk?

Methods

A secondary analysis was conducted on de-identified data collected from 138 newly diagnosed breast cancer survivors who had arm-volume measurements and symptom assessment at pre-treatment baseline and measurements up to 30 months post-surgery in a prospective longitudinal parent study. Arm volume and weight data, part of the information collected during each participant visit, were examined.

Results

Breast cancer survivors whose BMI was ≥30 at the time of breast cancer treatment were approximately 3.6 times more likely to develop lymphedema at 6 months or greater after diagnosis than those with a BMI < 30 at the time of cancer treatment (95% confidence interval, C.I., for odds ratio, O.R., 1.42–9.04; p = 0.007). Those with a general BMI increase or a BMI rise to 30 or greater during their first 30 months of survivorship were not more likely to develop late-onset lymphedema than those who did not have similar changes in BMI.

Conclusions

Pre-treatment BMI may be a risk factor for lymphedema. Weight gain post-treatment may not be. Further research is warranted.

Keywords

Body mass index Breast cancer Lymphedema 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheila H. Ridner
    • 1
  • Mary S. Dietrich
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bob R. Stewart
    • 3
  • Jane M. Armer
    • 3
  1. 1.School of NursingVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics, School of MedicineVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Sinclair School of Nursing, Ellis Fischel Cancer CenterUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations