Impact on Patients

ABSTRACT: Lymphedema: Knowledge, Treatment, and Impact Among Breast Cancer Survivors

Lymphedema is an understudied consequence of surgery for breast cancer. It is estimated that as many as 60% of breast cancer survivors report symptoms of lymphedema. Few studies have examined the impact of lymphedema on the lives of women with breast cancer.

The goal of this pilot study was to identify knowledge about, treatment received for, and the effect of lymphedema among a group of breast cancer survivors and physicians. Forty women with lymphedema and 10 physicians who treat breast cancer patients participated.

Overall, women knew little to nothing about lymphedema before they developed it. After diagnosis, the primary source of information about lymphedema was a doctor or physical therapist. The majority of women received compressive garment therapy (75%), 46.9% received mechanical compressive therapy, 26% received bandaging, and 22% received physical therapy. More than half (55%) reported that clothing and appearance were affected by their condition and 48% reported that routine daily activities were impaired.

Hot weather (58%) and regular arm use (40%) were reported to exacerbate the swelling. Most physicians reported that they did not routinely counsel women or provide written information on lymphedema prevention to their patients, and the extent to which women's daily living was affected by the condition was not always recognized.

These findings have implications for interventions aimed at educating women and providers about lymphedema.

The Breast (journal), 2/01


Arm Edema in Breast Cancer Patients

J NCI, January 2001

Upper Extremity Exercise Effects
Prospective Look At Axillar Surgery & LE
QOL Results 5 year: Germany
Physical Function as Measure of Lymphedema
Arm Swelling Common Among Young Breast Cancer Patients
RTx Boost to Axilla Raises LE Risk After Surgery
Shoulder and Arm Problems after Radiation

Am J Clin Oncol, April, 2001

Swelling, Numbness, Pain & Arm Function
Shoulder Movement:Postop Phsyiotherapy
Upper-body Problems & Recovery
Lymphedem Research FUNDS available 2006

Lymphatic Research Foundation (LRF) Grant Program posted 11/04

Strategies for Management

Cancer Online 8/01

Intermittent Pneumatic Compression
Validation of QOL Scale to Access Impact of LE in Bca Pts

Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 10/01

Prognostic Factors for LE

Cancer, 10/01

Lymphedema From Post-Mastectomy RTx
Early & Late Development of LE & Axillary Levels I-III

J Surg Oncol, 2/02

Physiotherapy After Bca Surgery
Late Morbidity After Tx & QOL
LE in Bca Survivors 20 Yrs Later

Cancer Journal w/DOD funding

Obit: Dr. Jeanne Petrek
Treatments compared

Acta Oncol, 2000

Randomized Controlled Trial of MLD
Random Sample of Pts Assessed

J Clin Oncol, 10/02

Incidence of Clinically Significant LE
Lymphedema After Treatment of Breast Cancer
LE & QOL in Early Stage Bca

Arch Surg, 11/02

SNB vs Axillary Dissection:Reduced LE

Eur J Surg Onc, 11/02

Comparison QOL from SNB Vs. Axillary LN dissection
Variation in Lymphatic Function May Predispose for LE

Eur J Surg Onc, 6/04

Lymphedema After Complete Node Dissection: Melanoma

Annals of Surgery, 11/04

Hyperbaric Oxygen & Arm Lymphedema

J Women's Health, 2004


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