Effect of complex decongestive therapy on edema and the quality of life in breast cancer patients with unilateral lymphedema

S. J. Kim, Chung Hwi Yi, O. Y. Kwon

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There is increasing interest in the health-related quality of life (QOL) of patients with chronic lymphedema. The aim of this study was to ascertain whether complex decongestive therapy (CDT) for upper limb lymphedema results in long-term changes in lymphedema and QOL, and to determine whether the treatment-induced change in the percentage excess volume (PCEV) is correlated with any changes in QOL. Fifty-three patients who had lymphedema were treated with CDT. PCEV and QOL were recorded before and 1 month after CDT, and at a 6-month follow-up visit. PCEV was significantly (p<0.05) decreased at 1 month, but significantly (p<0.05) increased at 6 months compared to 1 month [but still significantly reduced (p<0.05) from baseline]. The QOL scores at 1 and 6 months were significantly higher than the score at baseline, indicating an improvement in the QOL. Significant changes were evident in the single domains of physical functioning, role-physical, mental health, and general health. The change in PCEV was associated with a change in physical functioning, vitality, bodily pain, and general health at 1 and 6 months (p<0.05). This study suggests that QOL significantly improved with upper limb lymphedema during the maintenance phase, which was necessarily correlated with the reduction in limb volume.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sep 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Hematology

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