Managing Breast Cancer-Associated Lymphedema



Lymphedema is a chronic debilitating disease that is frequently misdiagnosed, treated too late, or not treated at all. When this problem occurs as a consequence of prior breast cancer therapy, it represents the most extensively studied cause of acquired lymphatic vascular insufficiency. It is reasonable to surmise, therefore, that among the cancer-related lymphedemas, the breast cancer-associated form is the one most commonly encountered. The obliteration of previously normal lymphatic channels is the hallmark of the acquired form of lymphedema. In the context of cancer therapeutics, lymphedema is most commonly associated with surgical excision of lymph nodes, or their irradiation. For breast cancer survivors, axillary lymph node dissection and adjuvant radiation therapy are both predisposing factors, particularly when the axilla is included in the radiation field. This chapter reviews the incidence, clinical findings, potential causes, and treatment options for patients with lymphedema.


Breast Cancer Survivor Axillary Lymph Node Dissection Bioelectric Impedance Analysis Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Compression Therapy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer New York 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stanford Center for Lymphatic and Venous Disorders, Division of Cardiology, Department of MedicineStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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