Background: Breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies all over the world. The rate of survival of the patients with cancer has increased due to developing diverse treatment methods, as a result of which the treatment-related side effects have become the focus of attention more than before. Lymphedema related to breast cancer is one of the frequent side effects which has significantly affected the patient’s quality of life.
Objectives: The purpose of this research was to assess the effect of complete or complex decongestive therapy on breast cancer-related lymphedema and the patients’ quality of life.
Patients and Methods: The present study was conducted from January 2013 to January 2014 and comprised 119 patients with breast cancer, related lymphedema, who had undergone complete or complex decongestive therapy (CDT). The patients’ volume and grade of lymphedema were measured and determined before and after treatment, using the direct volumeter device to measure the lymphedema volume. To determine the quality of life, the European organization for research and treatment of cancer quality of life questionnaire (EQRTC BR-23) was completed before and after the treatment.
Result: The volume of lymphedema was significantly reduced after CDT (P < 0.001). The scores of quality of life were significantly increased regarding body image (BI) (P < 0.001), future prospective (FP) (P = 0.008), sexual functioning (SF) (P = 0.006), systemic therapy side effect (STSE) (P = 0.008) and arm symptoms (AS) (P < 0.001) which was clear indication of improved quality of life.
Conclusions: It is concluded that not only CDT causes reduction in lymph edema volume but also it improves the life quality of patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema