Advances in understanding and management of lymphoedema (cancer, primary)

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Despite being neglected both clinically and in research in the past, primary lymphoedema, and lymphoedema secondary to cancer treatment have been the subject of an increasing number of studies in recent years. This review will focus on new developments relevant to clinical practice.

Recent findings

The main themes covered by the review include the incidence and prevalence of lymphoedema, early detection and intervention in cancer-related lymphoedema, risk reduction for the development of cancer-related lymphoedema, surgical treatment, palliative care for lymphoedema in advanced cancer and developments in the genetics of primary lymphoedema.

Summary

Evidence suggests that lymphoedema is more common than has been previously recognized. It continues to be a significant problem for people following cancer treatment. Developments in the early detection and treatment of cancer-related lymphoedema should reduce the future impact for patients. Advice on how to reduce the risk of developing lymphoedema may need to be modified in light of recent research. New treatments such as surgical procedures are still in their infancy but the results seem encouraging for selected patients.

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