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Risk Factors for Breast Cancer Lymphedema

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Christine Miaskowski, PhD, RN, University of California, San Francisco

This study is designed to identify both signs and symptoms of breast cancer-related lymphedema and genetic factors that predict whether patients are at increased risk for developing lymphedema. The researchers intend to use the results to develop and test new approaches to prevent or reduce the risk of lymphedema developing following breast cancer treatment.

What does participation involve?

If you agree to participate in this study, you will be asked to complete a series of online questionnaires before your visit. During your visit at the University of California, San Francisco Clinical Research Center, the research team will work with you to complete the following procedures:

• Measurements will be taken of your height, weight, movement and strength of your shoulders, and strength of your hand grip.

• The size of your arms will be measured by tape measure and by a procedure where you will be asked to stand on a circular platform that will slowly turn you 360 degrees while you hold onto handles. Cameras will take your arm measurements during this procedure.

• The fluid content of your body and each arm will be measured in two ways using bioelectrical impedance machines. During these tests a very small amount of electricity will pass through your body. These tests are completely painless and have no side effects.

• The research team will take measurements of your body composition using three DXA scans. For these measurements, you will lie on your back on a table and be scanned from head to toe by a machine that measures the absorption of X-Ray energy throughout your body. If needed, you can choose to opt-out of the DXA scans and you can still participate in this study.

• The sensation (feeling) in your arms and hands will be tested. The area around your breast surgical scar will be tested for sensitivity using a nylon filament. Several areas of your skin on the chest, arms, and back will be tested for swelling and stiffness using a device with a measuring pad.

• You will be asked for a blood sample.

All these procedures will take place during one visit. The study visit will require three hours of your time.

University of California, San Francisco