The objective of this study is to determine the level of symptoms, functional disability, and changes in quality of life that breast cancer patients experience from changes in their arm(s) during and after treatment for breast cancer. These problems are often associated with transient or chronic lymphedema, numbness, reduced shoulder flexibility, and an altered ability to use the arm for functional activities of daily living. The goal of this study is to collect data to support the hypothesis that swelling and other impairments in the upper extremities, causes a significant level of symptoms, functional disability and diminished quality of life for patients. Furthermore the investigators hope to evaluate how symptoms in the upper extremity (such as decreased functionality, sensory changes, pain or stiffness) are related to early, low volume lymphedema.
Primary Outcome Measures:
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||August 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
The method that we propose for this trial is to administer a condensed form of the Lymphedema and Breast Cancer Questionnaire (LBCQ) , Disabilities of the Arm Shoulder and Hand (DASH) and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy- Breast quality of life instrument (FACT-B) as surveys/questionnaires within the clinic. This combined questionnaire is called the lymphedema evaluation following treatment for breast cancer (LEFT-BC). All patients who present for a baseline (pre-operative) arm measurement will be offered the opportunity to participate in this trial. At that point the purpose of the trial will be explained. Any patient that wishes to participate will be provided the questionnaires to complete and return (by mail or in person) to the study coordinator prior to surgery. During follow-up visits, questionnaires will be collected prior to perometer measurements and will be analyzed in conjunction with the measurements taken on the same day. We will utilize the questionnaires to evaluate their symptoms, functionality and quality of life (QOL). The perometer is a well-validated instrument and considered the gold standard today for quantifying volume in a limb. It is accurate to within a percent and far more accurate than circumferential measurement using a tape measure. It has been a regular part of the standard of care for MGH breast cancer patients. Patients are routinely measured at diagnosis, after surgery, after chemotherapy, after radiation, at four to six-month follow-up visits that continue for years, and anytime a patient reports with new symptoms of swelling or arm discomfort outside of these time frames.