Authors: , , , ,


Cellulitis is one of the most important troubling complications of breast cancer treatment. Therefore, elucidating the risk factors for cellulitis in patients that have undergone breast cancer treatment is crucial. This is a retrospective medical record study among 523 patients who had received breast cancer treatment and were referred to the Lymphedema Clinic. Data on age, height, weight, BMI (body mass index), education level, arm dominance, history of previous surgery, axillary lymph node dissection, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy were noted. The time between operation and onset of lymphedema, duration of lymphedema, history of cellulitis, and number of cellulitis attacks were recorded. Circumference measurements were taken at four points on the upper limb. Univariate analysis showed that longer duration of lymphedema, larger circumference of the unaffected arm and larger circumference of the arm with lymphedema were associated with higher risk of cellulitis (p=0.008, p=0.007, p< 0.001, respectively). The incidence of cellulitis was higher in patients with lymphedema than patients who had no lymphedema (p< 0.001). Moreover, the frequency of cellulitis was higher in patients with lower education level (p=0.015). It was deter-mined that patients with cellulitis needed more compression garments (p< 0.001) and multi-layered bandage therapy (p< 0.001) than those without. Regression analysis revealed that presence of lymphedema (p=0.036), duration of lymphedema (p=0.048), radiotherapy (p=0.01) and educational level (0.019) are significantly associated with developing upper extremity cellulitis. It is important to consider these risk factors for the prevention and management of cellulitis in patients who undergo treatment for breast cancer. Early detection and treatment of lymphedema also remains essential for these patients.

Keywords: breast cancer, cellulitis, lymphedema, risk factors

How to Cite: Engin, O. , Şahin, E. , Sarıbay, E. , Dilek, B. & Akalın, E. (2022) “RISK FACTORS FOR DEVELOPING UPPER LIMB CELLULITIS AFTER BREAST CANCER TREATMENT”, Lymphology. 55(2). doi: