Minimal limb volume change has a significant impact on breast cancer survivors

Janice N. Cormier, Y. Xing, I. Zaniletti, R. L. Askew, B. R. Stewart, J. M. Armer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations


We sought to define the incidence, risk factors, symptoms, and quality of life (QOL) outcomes associated with various degrees of postoperative limb volume change (LVC). A prospective cohort study was performed obtaining serial limb volume measurements using a perometer on 269 women undergoing surgery for breast cancer. Four groups were created based on maximum LVC: none <5.0%, mild 5.0-9.9%, moderate 10.0-14.9%, and severe 15.0%. Symptoms and QOL were assessed. 81 (30.1%), 70 (26.0%), and 14 (5.2%) women developed mild, moderate, and severe LVC, respectively. Increases in body mass index (p<0.001) and post-operative complications (p=0.002) were associated with increasing LVC. Lower QOL scores were associated with a moderate LVC (OR=3.72, 95% CI, 1.29-10.73, p=0.015) and postopera-tive infections (OR=5.04, 95% CI, 1.73-14.70, p=0.003). LVC at 5.0% occurs in up to 61.3% of breast cancer survivors and is associated with a significant increase in symptoms and a change in reported quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-175
Number of pages15
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Breast cancer
  • Lymphedema
  • Quality of life
  • Symptom assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Hematology

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