Lymphedema after surgery for endometrial cancer: Prevalence, risk factors, and quality of life

Kathleen J. Yost, Andrea L. Cheville, Mariam M. Al-Hilli, Andrea Mariani, Brigitte A. Barrette, Michaela E. McGree, Amy L. Weaver, Sean C. Dowdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To estimate lower extremity lymphedema prevalence in patients surgically treated for endometrial cancer, identify predictors of lymphedema, and evaluate the effects of lymphedema on quality of life. METHODS: One thousand forty-eight consecutive patients who were operated on between 1999 and 2008 at the Mayo Clinic were mailed a survey, which included our validated 13-item lymphedema screening questionnaire and two validated quality-of-life measures. Logistic regression models were fit to identify factors associated with prevalent lymphedema; a multivariable model was obtained using stepwise and backward variable selection methods. The relationship between lymphedema and obesity with each quality-of-life score was evaluated separate multivariable linear models. RESULTS: There were 591 responders (56%) after exclusions. Our questionnaire revealed a previous self-reported lymphedema diagnosis in 103 (17%) patients and identified undiagnosed lymphedema in 175 (30%) (overall prevalence 47.0%, median 6.2 years follow-up). Lymphedema prevalence in patients treated with hysterectomy alone compared with lymphadenectomy was 36.1% and 52.3%, respectively (attributable risk 23%). Lymphedema risk was not associated with the number of nodes removed or the extent of lymphadenectomy after adjusting for other factors. On multivariable analysis, higher body mass index, congestive heart failure, performance of lymphadenectomy, and radiation therapy were associated with prevalent lymphedema. Multiple quality-of-life scores were worse in women with lymphedema. CONCLUSION: The attributable risk of developing lower extremity lymphedema was 23% for patients with endometrial cancer who underwent lymphadenectomy compared with hysterectomy alone with an overall prevalence of 47%. Lymphedema was associated with reductions in multiple quality-of-life domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2 PART1
StatePublished - Aug 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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