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SECONDARY LYMPHEDEMA AFTER HEAD AND NECK CANCER THERAPY: A REVIEW

A Anand, D Balasubramanian, N Subramaniam, S Murthy, S Iyer, K Thankappan, M Sharma

Abstract


Secondary head and neck lymphedema (SHNL) is a chronic condition affecting patients who have undergone treatment for head and neck cancers. It results from the disruption of normal lymphatic flow by surgery and/or radiation. The incidence of secondary head and neck lymphedema varies anywhere between 12 and 54% of all patients treated for head and neck cancer, but it is still commonly under-diagnosed in routine clinical practice. In spite of awareness of this condition, treatment has been difficult as definitive staging, diagnostic, and assessment tools are still under development. This review article is aimed at looking at the evidence, standards of management, and deficiencies in current literature related to SHNL to optimize management of these patients and improve their quality of life.

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