The Quality of Life in Long-Term Breast Cancer Survivors with Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema

T. Lopez Penha*, J. van Bodegraven, B. Winkens, E.M. Heuts, A.C. Voogd, M.F. von Meyenfeldt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aim : To compare the health related quality of life (HRQOL) of long-term breast cancer survivors with and without breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL) treated in the sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) era. Methods : HRQOL was assessed as subject of a secondary analysis of data gathered for a study evaluating the prevalence of BCRL in long-term breast cancer survivors. The 145 women in this study cohort had undergone SLNB and or axillary, lymph node dissection (ALND) according to Dutch Breast cancer treatment guidelines. HRQOL was assessed using two questionnaires : the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality (QLQ-C30) and the Breast Cancer-specific Quality of life questionnaire (QLQ-BR23). Results : Twenty-six women, of whom 5 only underwent SLNB, were identified with objectively measured lymphedema and/or self-perceived arm swelling. Patients with BCRL scored significantly lower on the social (p = 0.000) functioning scale after adjustment for BMI and age compared to women without BCRL. Compared to normative data, women with BCRL scored significantly lower on social- (p <0.001) and role (p = 0.001) functioning scales. Conclusion : HRQOL in long-term breast cancer survivors with BCRL is structurally lower than of those without BCRL, even in this small cohort of cancer survivors treated in the SLNB-era.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-244
JournalActa Chirurgica Belgica
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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