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Breast Cancer

Blood pressure taken in the leg

08/27/2007

Question:

My mom had a lumpectomy done on both sides due to breast cancer. Now for the rest of her life she is told she cannot have blood pressure taken in the arms, only in the leg. It is next to impossible to find any doctor with this type of device nor do most of them even understand when we tell them. We need help. Can I obtain this device myself? Why are these doctors so ill informed. Thank you.

Answer:

The risk of lymphedema in the extremity is related to the number of lymph nodes removed from that armpit. If only a few sentinel nodes are taken, then you need not follow the standard recommendations about avoiding the use of that arm for blood pressure etc. Blood pressure devices can be purchased by consumers.

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Response by:

Jennifer B Manders, MD Jennifer B Manders, MD
Formerly:
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati