Lymphedema of the arm and/or hand is a long-term complication of breast cancer treatment. Accurate estimates of the incidence and prevalence of lymphedema are lacking, as are the effects of this condition on overall quality of life. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of unilateral arm lymphedema among breast cancer patients one year after completion of treatment at Cancer Diseases Hospital. The prevalence of unilateral arm lymphedema controlling for cancer stages and treatment types were determined using a cross sectional study. Arm circumference of all breast cancer clients was measured to determine the prevalence of lymphedema. Prevalence of arm lymphedema (95% CI) was mild 60%, moderate was 28% and severe lymphedema was at 12%, respectively with stage I breast cancer patients, only presented with mild form of lymphedema. The study showed that lymphedema after breast cancer is common but mostly mild; increasing the awareness of health professional regarding early diagnosis can help minimize the morbidity of this disease post-surgery and radiation treatments among breast cancer patients.
Key words: Lymphedema, breast cancer, patients, arm lymphedema.
CDH, Cancer Disease Hospital; HRQoL, health related quality of life; NCI, National Cancer Institution; MEPI, Medical Education Partnership Initiative; SACORE, Southern Africa Consortium for Research Excellence Zambia; UNZA-SoM, University of Zambia School of Medicine; DNS, Department of Nursing Sciences; MSc, Master of Science; MOH, Ministry of Health.
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