This study aimed to determine the incidence and risk factors of lower-extremity lymphedema (LEL) in women who had radical surgery with or without adjuvant radiotherapy for International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage I to stage IIA cervical cancer.Methods
The medical records were reviewed retrospectively on patients with histologically confirmed FIGO stage I to IIA cervical cancer. Lower-extremity lymphedema–related medical problems such as peripheral vascular disease, congestive heart failure, or chronic renal disease were excluded. A logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between variable clinical characteristics and development of LEL.Results
We evaluated 707 patients. Of the 707 patients evaluated, we excluded 92 patients who had received radiotherapy as the initial therapy and 19 patients with LEL related to medical problems. Seventy-five patients (12.6%) developed LEL. The incidence was high in patients with adjuvant radiotherapy (odds ratio, 3.47; 95% confidence interval, 2.086–5.788; P = 0.000), with 78.7% of the patients with LEL having developed the condition within 3 years after initial treatment.Conclusions
Adjuvant radiotherapy was significantly associated with development of LEL in women who had undergone radical surgery with lymphadenectomy for FIGO stage I to stage IIA cervical cancer. The possibility for the occurrence of LEL must be fully explained before treatment and patients should be provided with the appropriate preventive education. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm the incidence and risk factors for LEL.