What is it about?

Women who treated for breast cancer have life-time risk for lymphedema, that is abnormal accumulation of fluid in the affected body side, arm, or hand. Currently, there is no medical and surgical cure for this progressive and chronic condition, yet, active engagement in monitoring patients symptoms related to fluid accumulation can help patients to obtain early intervention that leads to better clinical outcomes. So, take actions to monitor patients' symptoms and help patients to achieve their optimal quality of life.

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Why is it important?

Since the risk for lymphedema is life-time, it is important for healthcare providers to provide opportunities for patients to report symptoms that may indicate lymph fluid accumulation. Patients may also learn how to monitor their risk by periodically checking their symptoms.


As a screening tool, self-report of lymphedema symptoms is not only time-efficient but also cost-effective. Since early treatment usually leads to better clinical outcomes for this progressive and debilitating condition and current objective measures are not capable of detecting early stage of lymphedema, self-report of arm swelling and the count of symptoms may be a useful and cost-effective tool for early screening for lymphedema.

Dr Mei R Fu
New York University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Symptom report in detecting breast cancer-related lymphedema, Breast Cancer Targets and Therapy, October 2015, Dove Medical Press, DOI: 10.2147/bctt.s87854.
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