Chronic arm morbidity after curative breast cancer treatment: Prevalence and impact on quality of life

  • Kwan W
  • Jackson J
  • Weir L
 et al. 
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PURPOSE: To determine the prevalence of and contributing factors for chronic arm morbidity including lymphedema in breast cancer patients after treatment and to assess the impact of arm morbidity on quality of life (QOL). PATIENTS AND METHODS: A four-question screening questionnaire was developed and mailed to a random sample of 744 breast cancer patients treated curatively in two cancer centers from 1993 to 1997. Patients were without recurrence and at least 2 years from diagnosis. Respondents were classified as with or without arm-related symptoms on the basis of the survey. Stratified random samples from each group were then invited for a detailed assessment of their symptoms and signs, including the presence of lymphedema. Their QOL was assessed by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QOL Questionnaire C-30 and by a detailed arm problem questionnaire that assessed various aspects of daily arm functioning. RESULTS: Approximately half of all screened patients were symptomatic and 12.5% of all assessed patients had lymphedema. Axillary dissection (AD) and axillary radiotherapy (RT) after dissection were statistically significantly related to the occurrence of arm symptoms (odds ratio for AD = 3.3, P

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  • Winkle Kwan

  • Jeremy Jackson

  • Lorna M. Weir

  • Carol Dingee

  • Greg McGregor

  • Ivo A. Olivotto

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