Age differences in post-breast cancer lymphedema signs and symptoms

Jane Armer, Mei R. Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This secondary data analysis was designed to explore the age differences in lymphedema (LE) occurrence and self-reported symptoms in post-breast cancer LE. A descriptive-exploratory cross-sectional design was used with a convenience sample composed of 102 women treated and followed for breast cancer at a midwestern cancer center. Sequential circumferential arm measurement was used to estimate limb volume differences. Self-reported symptoms were assessed by the Lymphedema and Breast Cancer Questionnaire (LBCQ) designed and tested by the research team. Lymphedema occurrence was relatively higher (41.2%) in breast cancer survivors younger than 60 than in those older than 60 (30.6%). Six subjectively reported symptoms were found to occur more often (P ≤ .05) in the younger women with LE: numbness now and in the past year, tenderness in the past year, aching now and in the past year, increased temperature in arm now. Numbness, tenderness, and aching were the most prevalent symptoms among women in both age groups regardless of LE presence. Our findings suggest that younger breast cancer survivors may have increased LE risk and report LE-related symptoms more often. Future research should focus on age differences in LE risk, occurrence, and perceptions of LE-related symptoms in women treated for breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-209
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005


  • Age
  • Breast cancer
  • Lymphedema
  • Signs and symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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