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Prospective surveillance for breast cancer–related arm lymphedema: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Journal of Clinical Oncology Jan 28, 2022

In view of the building momentum of the call for integrating the prospective surveillance for lymphedema into cancer care pathways to facilitate early intervention and prevent the progression of the condition, researchers sought to evaluate the literature on the topic and investigated the effect of such programs in preventing chronic lymphedema (CRD42019137965).

  • Searching five databases and two registries, researchers identified 23 studies for inclusion; evaluation of breast cancer–related arm lymphedema (BCRaL) was performed in 21 of the studies.

  • There appeared reduced risk of chronic BCRaL in correlation with participation in prospective surveillance with early management vs usual care.

  • Chronic lymphedema developed in only a minority of patients at high risk of lymphedema because of axillary surgery.

  • In order to ascertain the value of prospective surveillance with early management in reducing the risk of chronic lymphedema, particularly among cancer survivors other than breast cancer, more robust research is required.

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