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International Journal of Breast Cancer
Volume 2013, Article ID 641818, 7 pages
Research Article

Risk Factors of Lymph Edema in Breast Cancer Patients

1Breast Cancer Research Group, Breast Cancer Research Center (BCRC), ACECR, Tehran 1315685981, Iran
2Cancer Research Center (CRC), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1989934148, Iran
3Solid Tumor Treatment Research Center, Mashhad University of Medical University, Mashhad 91397, Iran
4Cancer Institute, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1419733141, Iran
5Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran 1411717415, Iran
6Cancer Research Center, Shohada Hospital, Tajrish Square, Tehran, Iran

Received 22 March 2013; Revised 19 May 2013; Accepted 19 May 2013

Academic Editor: Claudio Luparello

Copyright © 2013 Haghighat Shahpar et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Lymphedema secondary to breast cancer treatment is a common and serious problem for disease survivors. The objective of the current study was to identify the risk factors of secondary lymphedema after breast carcinoma treatment. Materials & Methods. The breast cancer patients who were followed up in three centers in Tehran and Mashhad in 2010 were recruited in the study. The circumference measurement was used for defining lymphedema. Results. Among 410 breast cancer patients, 123 cases (30%) developed lymphedema. Variables such as low educational level, body mass index (BMI), higher stage of disease, number of involved lymph nodes, comorbid diseases, trauma, infection, and the time after surgery showed significant correlation with the development of lymphedema. In logistic regression analysis, increase of 1 kg/m2 in BMI (OR = 1.09; 95%  CI 1.05–1.15), each number increase in lymph node involvement (OR = 1.15; 95%  CI 1.08–1.21) and the increase of every 1 month after surgery (OR = 1.01; 95%  CI 1.01–1.02) significantly increased the risk of lymphedema. Conclusion. The results of this study demonstrated that preserving a fitted BMI, emphasis on self-care, and educating preventive activities may have important roles in decreasing the lymphedema incidence and improving the patients’ quality of life.