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.