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Preventing Lymphedema : Maintaining Quality of Life for Individuals Diagnosed with Cancer. Presented by Christine Flaherty. The Lymphatic System and Lymphedema The lymphatic system includes: lymph fluid, lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes.
Presented by Christine Flaherty
Lymph nodes and vessels can be dissected or disrupted.
Can result in fibrosis of involved tissue which can decrease circulation of lymph fluid. Radiation can also shrink lymph nodes.
Secondary lymphedema can develop as a result of surgery or radiation because these procedures damage the lymphatic system.
“Lymphedema should not be considered an inevitable side effect of cancer treatment.”
- Some individuals’ bodies are able to compensate, for instance; some individuals have adequate, existing collateral circulation to manage the extra lymph load
- Education regarding risk factors
Federal laws regulate who can perform complete decongestive therapy (CDT) for treatment of lymphedema. Occupational therapists are among the small group of healthcare professionals who are able to treat lymphedema after receiving training.
Research reporting a lack of knowledge regarding the condition of lymphedema and/or a lack of knowledge regarding preventative measures among individuals diagnosed with cancer:
Bosompra, K., Takamaru, A., O’Brien, P., Nelson, L., Skelly, J., & Beatty, D. (2002). Knowledge about preventing and managing lymphedema: a survey of recently diagnosed and treated breast cancer patients. Patient Education and Counseling, 47, 155-163.
Clark, R., Wasilewska, T., & Carter, J. (1997). Lymphedema: a study of Otago women treated for breast cancer. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 12, 4-14.
Coward, D. (1999) Lymphedema prevention and management knowledge in women treated for breast cancer. ONF, 26, 1047-1053.
Hawes, C., Neill, J., Borbasi, S., Groenkjaer, M., Piller, N., & Chapman, Y. (2004). Ignorance is not bliss: information provided to Australian women at risk of developing lymphoedema following treatment for breast cancer. Australian Journal of Cancer Nursing, 5, 3-15.
Paskett, E., & Stark, N. (2000). Lymphedema: knowledge, treatment, and Impact among breast cancer survivors. The Breast Journal, 6, 373-378.
Beaulac, S., McNair, L., Scott, T., LaMorte, W., Kavanah, M. (2002). Lymphedema and quality of life in survivors of early-stage breast cancer. Arch Surg, 137, 1253-1257.
Burt, Jeannie & White, Gwen. (1999). Lymphedema. Salt Lake City: Hunter House Publishers.
Casley-Smith, J., & Casley-Smith, J. (1996) Lymphedema initiated by aircraft flights. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 67, 52-56.
Engel, J., Kerr, J., Schlesinger-Raab, A., Sauer, H., & Holzel, D. (2003). Axilla surgery severely affects quality of life: results of a 5-year prospective study in breast cancer patients. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 79, 47-57.
Kelly, Deborah G. (2002). A Primer on Lymphedema. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Kwan, w., Jackson, J., Weir, L., Dingee, C., McGregor, G., & Olivotto, I. (2002). Chronic arm morbidity after curative breast cancer treatment: prevelance and impact on quality of life. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 20, 4242-4248.
Johansson, K., Ohlsson, K., Ingvar, C., Albertsson, M., & Ekdahl, C. (2002). Factors associated with the development of arm lymphedema following breast cancer treatment: a match pair case-control study. Lymphology, 35, 59-71.
Maunsell, E., Brisson, J., & Deschenes, L. (1993). Arm problems and psychological distress after surgery for breast cancer. Canadian Journal of Surgery, 36, 315-320.
Petrek, J., Senie, R., Peters, M., & Rosen, P. (2001). Lymphedema in a cohort of breast carcinoma survivors 20 years after diagnosis. Cancer, 92, 1368-1377.
Velanovich, V., & Szymanski, W. (1999) Quality of life of breast cancer patients with lymphedema. American Journal of Surgery, 177, 184-188.