Background: Breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) limits the movements of patients' limbs, which leads to a diminished ability to achieve essential activities of daily living (ADLs). The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between limb volume changes from the baseline before breast cancer surgery and self-reported difficulty in performing ADLs at 12 months following cancer surgery. We hypothesized that a positive association existed between limb volume changes from the baseline and self-reported difficulty in performing ADLs at 12 months following breast cancer surgery. Methods and Results: The data of the present study were part of a larger study with 140 breast cancer patients recruited before breast cancer surgery and followed up during their first year of treatment. Patients with more than 10% limb volume increase reported more frequent distress in performing 13 ADL items, compared with patients whose limb volume increased by 5%-10%. Regression analysis showed a significant increase in the odds ratio of reporting difficulty in ADLs compared with the group with less than 5% limb volume increase. Conclusion: Overall, patients with a greater limb volume increase underwent more difficulty performing ADLs. Patients reported more difficulty in performing ADLs even with 5%-10% limb volume increase. Currently, there is no standardized guideline to diagnose BCRL, although previous evidence suggests a limb volume increase greater than 10% as a criterion for BCRL. The findings from the present study suggest a more precise and clinically meaningful criteria for diagnosing BCRL to accommodate those with 5%-10% increase in limb volume.
- daily activities
- limb volume changes
- lymphedema breast cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine