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Preoperative assessment of cancer patients enables early diagnosis, treatment of lymphedema
Date:4/30/2008

BETHESDA, Md., April 30, 2008 The preoperative assessment of breast cancer patients for subclinical lymphedema enables clinicians to establish a baseline, which serves to enable the early diagnosis and successful treatment of the debilitating condition, according to data from a five-year study published this week in the online edition of the journal Cancer (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/118821880/ABSTRACT).

In a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Naval Medical Center, in collaboration with faculty and students from the University of Michigan-Flint and George Mason University, researchers measured the upper limb volume of 196 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients from 2001 to 2006 to establish a baseline prior to surgery. At designated postoperative intervals, the researchers took repeated measurements as part of a surveillance model to monitor for possible impairments related to breast cancer treatment--such as lymphedema--as opposed to treating therapy-related problems after they occur. Using the surveillance approach, the investigators demonstrated that a short trial of compression garments effectively treated subclinical lymphedema when it was detected early. Forty-three, or 22 percent, of the 196 breast cancer patients in the study developed subclinical lymphedema, as defined by a change in limb volume of >75cc; and all subjects showed a significant mean volume reduction to very near their pre-surgical normal state. All subjects were able to maintain this level for an average of 4.8 months, and none of the patients demonstrated progression of the condition in the follow-up period.

Steven Schonholz, M.D., a breast surgeon and medical director of the Breast Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., added: "The problem with lymphedema is that there hasnt been an easy way
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Contact: Wendy Lau
wendy.lau@russopartnersllc.com
212-845-4272
Russo Partners, LLC
Source:Eurekalert

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