Meek described risk factors for lymphedema in an arm following therapy for breast cancer.


Risk factors associated with the tumor and its management:

(1) higher stage of cancer at diagnosis

(2) radiation therapy to the axilla

(3) concurrent chemotherapy

(4) extent of axillary lymph node dissection


Patient factors that may contribute to the risk following surgery and radiation:

(1) older age

(2) obesity

(3) hypertension



• Some of the risk factors may interact. For example, a woman with a high stage may have more extensive surgery and is more likely to have radiation and chemotherapy.


Additional factors that may contribute:

(1) previous trauma or surgery to the axilla


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