Breast cancer survivors with a body mass index (BMI) >25 who report the use of tamoxifen therapy may be at increased risk for arm lymphedema, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 43 women breast cancer who reported physician-diagnosed lymphedema during follow-up of the long-term quality of life (LTQOL) study in order to investigate whether an association exists between treatment-related risk factors and development of arm lymphedema.
Results showed that tamoxifen had a non-significant, positive association with arm lymphedema, but type of surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy had no impact on the risk of lymphedema development. Researchers found that the risk for developing arm lymphedema was particularly higher among overweight and obese women with a BMI greater than 25 who were treated with tamoxifen.
"Lymphedema risk may be another indication to consider a weight reduction program in breast cancer survivors," the authors conclude.
Treatment-related factors may increase the risk for arm lymphedema, which may occur after surgery or even many years after initial treatment for breast cancer.