Most physicians agree that lymphedema is one of the most feared complications of breast cancer treatment. Most physicians will not agree, however, on the true incidence of lymphedema, how we should measure changes in the upper extremity, what constitutes clinically significant lymphedema, and when and how we should treat lymphedema. For a condition that is reported to be highly prevalent among breast cancer survivors (7%-70%), the risk factors for developing lymphedema are not well elucidated. In addition, it has been difficult to identify populations of at-risk survivors who may benefit from early intervention.
Hunt KK, Cormier JN. Risky Business: Identifying Risk Factors Associated With Lymphedema After Breast CancerComment on “Risk Factors for Lymphedema in a Prospective Breast Cancer Survivorship Study”. Arch Surg. 2010;145(11):1063-1064. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2010.1063