Obesity raises risk of cancer-related lymphedema

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Painful swelling of the arm or shoulder area following treatment for breast cancer — a condition called lymphedema - is more common in women who are overweight or obese than in women of normal weight, researchers have found.

Lymphedema is a common, chronic condition that often develops after breast surgery involving the removal or damage to the lymph nodes in the armpit. Radiation therapy, post-operative infection and age have also been implicated. The condition occurs when excess fluid accumulates, leading to swelling, rash, redness and blistering that causes tenderness, numbness, or aching in the arm, chest wall and breast.

In their study of 193 breast cancer survivors, Dr. Jane M. Armer and colleagues at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that the risk of lymphedema was 40 to 60 percent higher in women who are overweight or obese compared to normal-weight women.

The risk of lymphedema is especially high in overweight or obese women who have cancer treatment to the dominant side or experience post-operation swelling, the researchers report. Post-operative swelling significantly increased the risk of lymphedema regardless of a woman’s body weight.

Based on their analysis, roughly two thirds of breast cancer survivors are at risk of developing lymphedema within 30 months after surgery, Armer and colleagues report in the current issue of the Journal of Lymphoedema.

“Diagnosing post-breast cancer lymphedema can be difficult,” Armer noted. She recommends increased health education for both breast cancer survivors and health care providers.

“Lymphedema has a profound impact on health and well-being, but often goes undiagnosed and untreated by physicians and patients,” she said.

In a previous study, Armer and colleagues found that many women who experience lymphedema after breast cancer treatment suffer in silence. Others don’t follow the treatment advice of their doctor or use “alternative” treatments, which they may not discuss with their doctors.

SOURCE: Journal of Lymphoedema, 2008.


Related Posts:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many women who experience abnormal swelling of the arm or shoulder area following treatment for breast cancer — a bothersome condition called lymphedema — suffer in silence, a new survey indicate. Others don’t follow the treatment advice of their doctor or use “alternative” treatments, which they may not discuss with their

Full Post: Women may ignore cancer-related lymphedema: survey

By Anne Harding NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many women don’t know that obesity increases their risk of several types of cancer, a new survey published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology shows. Women’s lack of knowledge about excess weight and the most common gynecologic malignancy, endometrial cancer, is particularly worrying, Dr. Pamela T. Soliman of M.

Full Post: Obesity-cancer link unknown to many women

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Certain breast cancer survivors who load up on fruits and vegetables, eating far more than current U.S. guidelines, can slash their risk the tumors will come back by nearly a third, according to a U.S. study released on Monday. The finding only held for women who did not have hot flashes after their

Full Post: Fruits, veggies slash breast cancer risk: U.S. study

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Strategies introduced in the late 1980s for protecting fertility in patients undergoing cancer treatment may have indeed helped boost reproduction rates modestly among survivors of certain types of cancer, new research from Norway suggests. However, overall, female cancer survivors remain about half as likely as women who had never been diagnosed

Full Post: Post-cancer reproduction still low for women, men

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In overweight or obese women, physical activity, even at light or moderate intensities, lowers the risk of cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer), according to findings from the American Cancer Society’s prospective Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort study. Dr. Alpa V. Patel and colleagues at the American

Full Post: Exercise may cut uterine cancer risk in heavy women

Site Navigation

Most Read



  • kinwrite.com@gmail.com