Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Melinda Irwin

Second Advisor

Brenda Cartmel


Purpose: Lymphedema is a poorly understood but significant side effect of treatment for gynecologic cancer. We sought to determine the prevalence of lower limb lymphedema (LLL) in a sample of ovarian cancer survivors via three different diagnostic methods while also evaluating the agreement between each method and assessing potential risk factors for LLL. Methods: LLL was measured via self-report questionnaire, optoelectric perometry, and evaluation by a certified lymphedema specialist in women (n = 48) who had completed treatment for their ovarian cancer and were physically inactive. Results: LLL prevalence ranged from 19-42% depending on the diagnostic method, with the self-report questionnaire and the lymphedema specialist evaluation having the highest agreement (k = 0.646). No risk factors were significantly associated with LLL, although there was a trend towards higher total body fat and BMI among those with LLL versus lower body fat and BMI among those without LLL. Conclusion: There is a strong need for further research, given that the prevalence of LLL could be as high as 42 percent among women treated for ovarian cancer.


This is an Open Access Thesis.