Analysis of the Impact of Breast Edema After Breast-Conserving Surgery and Radiotherapy

Data on lymphedema of the breast are lacking. Investigators analyzed patient-reported prevalence and determinants of breast edema and its impact on patient-reported health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) as well as breast pain. Investigators prospectively included 836 patients who were undergoing breast-conserving surgery followed by radiotherapy. Before starting radiotherapy, means of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer-C30/BR23 were used to assess patient-reported breast edema, HR-QoL, and breast pain.

Approximately 24% of patients reported breast edema within a median follow-up of 28 months. The prevalence of breast edema was greatest at 6 months (12.4%, 95% CI = 10.0 to 14.7). It was found that bigger tumor size, oncoplastic surgery, axillary lymph node dissection, locoregional radiotherapy, radiotherapy boost on the tumor bed, and adjuvant chemotherapy were linked to breast edema. There was an independent association between breast edema and greater breast pain along with worse QoL, physical functioning, and body image. Investigators noted that this information is useful for clinical practice and shared decision making with patients.


Young-Afat DA, Gregorowitsch ML, van den Bongard DH, et al. Breast Edema Following Breast-Conserving Surgery and Radiotherapy: Patient-Reported Prevalence, Determinants, and Effect on Health-Related Quality of Life. JNCI Cancer Spectr. 2019;3(2):pkz011. doi:10.1093/jncics/pkz011

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