Risk Factors for Developing Lymphedema Secondary to Treatment for Breast Cancer: The Evidence
O’Toole J: Massachusetts General Hospital , Boston , MA

 PURPOSE:  The intention of this presentation is to outline the current scientific evidence related to the incidence, pathology, and risk factors related to upper quadrant lymphedema occurring secondary to treatment for breast cancer.  DESCRIPTION:  This talk will present a literature-based review, discuss the gaps in the knowledge and suggest ideas for further investigation. Suggestions for patient education considerations for the orthopedic shoulder therapist will be given. SUMMARY OF USE/IMPORTANT: The patient who has undergone treatment for breast cancer can experience musculoskeletal problems and not uncommonly, is referred to therapy for evaluation and treatment.  Given the incidence of breast cancer and the improvement in survival, a therapist will likely encounter a patient early on in the postoperative phase or years later.  The quadrant treated with node dissection and radiation is at risk for experiencing lymphedema at any point during the patient’s lifetime. An understanding of incidence and risk factors will enhance the ability of the orthopedic shoulder therapist to educate a patient in a well-informed manner.