A randomized controlled trial of weight reduction as a treatment for breast cancer-related lymphedema

Cancer. 2007 Oct 15;110(8):1868-74. doi: 10.1002/cncr.22994.


Background: Obesity is considered a risk factor for the development of breast cancer-related lymphedema of the arm and as a poor prognostic factor in response to lymphedema treatment. The objective of this study was to examine weight reduction as a treatment for breast cancer-related lymphedema.

Methods: Twenty-one women with breast cancer-related lymphedema were randomized either to receive dietary advice for weight reduction or to receive a booklet on general healthy eating. They were monitored for 12 weeks.

Results: The primary outcome measure was arm volume at 12 weeks. The results indicated a significant reduction in swollen arm volume at the end of the 12-week period (P = .003) in the intervention weight-reduction group. There was a significant reduction in body weight (P = .02) and body mass index (P = .016) in the weight-reduction group at the end of the 12-week study period.

Conclusions: Weight loss achieved by dietary advice to reduce energy intake can reduce breast cancer-related lymphedema significantly.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted*
  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphedema / etiology
  • Lymphedema / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Weight Loss*