(HealthDay News) — Recent developments are affecting the management of cancer-related lymphedema, according to an article published online Nov. 19 in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.

Simona F. Shaitelman, M.D., Ed.M., from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues provide an overview of recent developments in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer-related lymphedema.

The authors note that lymphedema is a significant health issue for cancer survivors, affecting patients’ health-related quality of life. The incidence of lymphedema varies with tumor site; lymphedema measurement includes different objective and subjective tools, with the differences among measurement tools affecting the reported incidence of lymphedema. Recent advances in imaging have been helpful for visualizing lymphatics and identifying lymphedema. The optimal treatment for lymphedema remains controversial, with complete decongestive therapy recognized as the current standard of care. Other treatment options include bandaging, exercise, and surgery. Preventive measures include sentinel lymph node biopsy, axillary reverse mapping, surgery, and prospective surveillance.

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“Aside from advances in the identification of lymphedema, advances in its treatment offer insight and improvements into the management of this chronic, progressive condition,” the authors write. “Although lymphedema remains a significant survivorship issue after cancer treatment, more reasonable management plans and potential preventive approaches have allowed for patients to continue to thrive.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the medical device industry.

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