Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Evaluation of a new approach to the treatment of lymphedema resulting from breast cancer therapy.

Evaluation of a new approach to the treatment of lymphedema resulting from breast cancer therapy.

Sept 2012



The aim of this study was to evaluate a new form of intensive treatment for arm lymphedema.


A prospective study of 66 patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema was performed. The ages of the patients ranged from 35 to 83years old with a mean of 58.8years. Diagnosis of lymphedema was made by physical examination and water-displacement volumetry (a difference of ≥200mL between arms). All the patients were submitted to clinical treatment in an outpatient setting which involved a once-weekly session of 3 to 4h of manual and mechanical lymph drainage, myolymphokinetic activities and exercising using facilitating apparatuses and the use of a medical compression sleeve. Monthly volumetry evaluations were routinely performed. The Student t-test was employed for statistical analysis with an alpha level of 5% being considered significant.


The mean follow-up time between cancer treatment and this study was 12.3months. A significant reduction in the size of the arms was observed for all patients. The mean difference between the lymphedematous and normal arms of all patients was 553.8mL at the start of treatment and a mean reduction of 70.1% (388.7mL) of the edema was achieved (p=0.0001).


In our experience, this model of treatment appeared efficacious in decreasing and maintaining the reduction in volume of arm in breast cancer-related lymphedema.