Effects of an early intervention with Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment on arm lymphedema and quality of life after breast cancer-an explorative clinical trial

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PurposeLymphedema (LE) is a common complication after breast cancer treatment, which negatively affects the quality of life (QOL). Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT) is an established treatment for radiation-induced tissue injury, but evidence of effect on breast cancer-related LE is inconclusive. We aimed to explore effects of HBOT on early breast cancer-related LE and the implications for QOL.MethodsWe invited women with breast cancer treated with surgery, axillary dissection and radiotherapy, who had participated in a randomized controlled trial and who presented with LE 1 year after surgery. In a prospective observational study design, change in LE was assessed with perometry, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and lymphoscintigraphy, and QOL by validated self-report scales. Participants were offered 40 sessions of HBOT on every weekday for 8 weeks and were followed for 6 months.ResultsOut of 50 eligible participants, 20 women accepted participation. Nineteen women initiated and completed treatment and follow-up. None of the objective measures of LE severity showed consistent changes during the study period, but participants reported significant improvements in QOL (physical functioning, fatigue, insomnia and breast and arm symptoms), with improvements peaking at 6-month follow-up.ConclusionParticipants receiving HBOT experienced improved QOL without consistently significant changes in arm mass, volume or lymphatic drainage. These results call for studies into differential effect in patient sub-groups, and a large-scale, randomized placebo-controlled trial with long-term follow-up to assess the effect of HBOT in patients with soft tissue radiation injuries after breast cancer seems warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number313
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number5
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Research areas

  • Breast neoplasms, Lymphedema, Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Health-related quality of life, Soft tissue radiation injury, PHASE-II TRIAL, EUROPEAN-ORGANIZATION, THERAPY, RADIOTHERAPY, PREVALENCE, RADIATION, SURGERY, IRRADIATION, DISSECTION, DEPRESSION

ID: 373831448