Objective: To assess quality of life (QOL) in patients who developed lower-extremity lymphedema (LLE) after radical gynecologic cancer surgery on prospective clinical trial GOG 244.
Methods: The prospective, national, cooperative group trial GOG-0244 determined the incidence of LLE and risk factors for LLE development, as well as associated impacts on QOL, in newly diagnosed patients undergoing surgery for endometrial, cervical, or vulvar cancer from 6/4/2012-11/17/2014. Patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures of QOL (by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy [FACT]), body image, sexual and vaginal function, limb function, and cancer distress were recorded at baseline (within 14 days before surgery), and at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after surgery. Assessments of LLE symptoms and disability were completed at the time of lower limb volume measurement. A linear mixed model was applied to examine the association of PROs/QOL with a Gynecologic Cancer Lymphedema Questionnaire (GCLQ) total score incremental change ≥4 (indicative of increased LLE symptoms) from baseline, a formal diagnosis of LLE (per the GCLQ), and limb volume change (LVC) ≥10%.
Results: In 768 evaluable patients, those with a GCLQ score change ≥4 from baseline had significantly worse QOL (p < 0.001), body image (p < 0.001), sexual and vaginal function (p < 0.001), limb function (p < 0.001), and cancer distress (p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in sexual activity rates between those with and without LLE symptoms.
Conclusions: LLE is significantly detrimental to QOL, daily function, and body image. Clinical intervention trials to prevent and manage this chronic condition after gynecologic cancer surgery are needed.
Keywords: Cervical cancer; Endometrial cancer; GOG 244; Lymphedema; Quality of life; Vulvar cancer.
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