The analysis included 46 women after radical breast amputation because of cancer with which lymphoedema occurred in the upper limb, as well as 51 women in whom no lymphoedema occurred during the period of the observation. Both groups were subjected to a comparative analysis as for height, body mass, and weight–height indexes: BMI, Quetelet, Rohrer, and Pignet–Verwaeck. The results show that women with high body mass, obesity (BMI > 30.0), and high values of the Quetelet (>370), Rohrer (>1.59), and Pignet–Verwaeck (>93.1) indexes are threatened to a significant degree with lymphoedema of the upper limbs after cancer-related mastectomy. On the other hand, slim body build and low index values appear to be a factor protecting from the occurrence of lymphoedema of the upper limb. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 15:433–439, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.