Sara McLaughlin, MD, professor of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, discusses the frequency that lymphedema appears in patients with breast cancer and addresses the complications in identifying this after her presentation at the Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Symposium.
Sara McLaughlin, MD, professor of surgery, Mayo Clinic, discusses the frequency that lymphedema appears in patients with breast cancer, as well as addresses the complications in identifying the condition following her presentation at the 2018 Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Symposium.
McLaughlin says their estimations are that 5% of women with a sentinel node biopsy and 20% of women with an axillary node dissection experience lymphedema. This also increases when compound radiation is added to an axillary procedure. In these cases, the rates of lymphedema can nearly double, she explains.
According to McLaughlin, lymphedema may be more common than is currently known in the field. This is because lymphedema does not develop until 3 to 5 years following their treatment. Moreover, most studies do not follow patients this far out, meaning it can often go unreported.