Ann Rehabil Med.  2012 Apr;36(2):240-247. 10.5535/arm.2012.36.2.240.

Quality of Life, Upper Extremity Function and the Effect of Lymphedema Treatment in Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema Patients

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 110-744, Korea. kurmguro@paran.com

Abstract


OBJECTIVE
To evaluate quality of life (QOL), upper extremity function and the effect of lymphedema treatment in patients with breast cancer related lymphedema. METHOD: The basic data comprised medical records (detailing age, sex, dominant side, location of tumor, cancer stage, operation record, cancer treatment and limb circumferences) and questionnaires (lymphedema duration, satisfaction, self-massage). Further to this, we measured upper extremity function and QOL, administered the DASH (Disabilities of Arm Shoulder and Hand outcome measure) and used the EORTC (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer)-QLQ-C30 and the EORTC-QLQ-Br23. Results of these were calculated as main outcome variables.
RESULTS
The questionnaire responses and arm circumferences of 59 patients with breast cancer related lymphedema were analyzed. In the DASH questionnaire, it was found that the older the lymphedema patient was, the lower their upper extremity function. On the EORTC-QLQ, patients with metastasis had significantly lower scores in physical functioning and role functioning. In terms of upper extremity circumference, there was a significant upper extremity size reduction after lymphedema treatment.
CONCLUSION
There were several dissociations between some subscales of quality of life questionnaires and those of upper extremity functions. Upper extremity function was correlated with the age of breast cancer patients and QOL was influenced by M-stage. Lymphedema treatment was found to be effective in reducing edema in patients with breast cancer related lymphedema.

Keyword

Lymphedema; Breast cancer; Quality of life; Upper extremity function

MeSH Terms

Arm
Breast
Breast Neoplasms
Edema
Extremities
Hand
Humans
Lymphedema
Medical Records
Neoplasm Metastasis
Quality of Life
Shoulder
Upper Extremity
Surveys and Questionnaires
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