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 journalArticlepeer-review

104 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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