Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Melinda Irwin

Second Advisor

Brenda Cartmel

Abstract

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.

Comments

This is an Open Access Thesis.

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