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The incidence and effects of lower-limb lymphoedema in women treated with radiotherapy for gynaecological cancer in South Africa

Johanna E. Maree, Joyce V. Khutjwe, Nokuthula G. Mafutha
2 September 2020

Despite the high incidence of gynaecological cancer in South Africa, the incidence of lower-limb lymphoedema is unknown. This study used a cross-sectional design, circumference measurements, limb volumes and the Gynaecological Cancer Lymphedema Questionnaire (GCLQ), to describe the incidence, symptoms and effects of lymphedema (n=155). Nearly 30% (29.7%; n=46) of the sample (n=155) developed lower-limb lymphoedema between 12 and 24 months after completing treatment. Swelling mostly influenced lifestyle (47.4%; n=36) and resulted in being miserable (15.7%; n=12). Raising awareness and advocating for treatment opportunities for these women should be prioritised.

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