Nele Adriaenssens,Physical Therapist, graduated in 2008 at Vrije Universiteit Brussel;Professor in Rehabilitation Sciences and Physical Therapy dd. October 2012 at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. In December 2013, she was the coordinator of the oncologic rehabilitation program at the Cancer Center Brussels of the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel.


The main aim of this project, that started in January 2013, is to study the influence of preventive microsurgical lymph node transplantation (LNT) and/or lympho-venous anastomose(s) (LVA) on the incidence and prognosis of breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL) in high-risk breast cancer survivors. The project is built-up by three sections to come to this endpoint.
The first section, section A, is a prospective study that focuses on the effects of the microsurgical BCRL treatments (LNT and LVA), in combination with standard complex physical therapy, in breast cancer survivors with BCRL.
In the second section, section B, breast cancer survivors with high risk for onset and development of BCRL are determined. Potential patient related risk factors, previously never included in clinical trials in relation to BCRL, are studied. In the analytical models, known treatment- and patient related risk factors are taken into account as well. The first potential risk factor is the autonomic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. The second potential risk factor is anatomic variants of the lymphatic system. In section B, retrospective designs, prospective designs and animal models are used to determine potential risk factors. The influences of risk factors in response to BCRL treatments are also analyzed (in section C).
The last section, section C, is a randomized clinical trial, studying the main aim of the project, as discussed in the first paragraph. At the congress we will discuss preliminary results of section A and B, the protocol of section C and retrospective results of section A (the influence of the intervention on quality of life in BCRL patients).

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