Lymphedema Education for the Breast Cancer Survivor


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General information and treatment options for breast cancer survivors battling lymphedema as presented by Jane A. White, Director of Rehabilitation Services at CTCA in Phoenix at Well-Healed: A Survivor Celebration.

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Lymphedema Education for the Breast Cancer Survivor

  1. 1. Cancer Treatment Centers of America ® Lymphedema Education for the Breast Cancer Survivor Presented at: Well-Healed: A Survivor Celebration Presented by: Jane A. White, PT, MPT, CLT Date: August 30, 2012
  2. 2. Breast Cancer Statistics• Most common cancer affecting women in U.S.• Death rates declining – attributed to increased awareness and earlier disease detection• One in 8 American women will be diagnosed during their lifetime• Over 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in U.S. 2 © 2012 Rising Tide
  3. 3. Cancer Survivor Definition• National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship states: – “a cancer survivor from time of diagnosis and for the balance of life” 3 © 2011 Rising Tide
  4. 4. Lymphedema• What is it?• Who gets it?• Early identification important• Four stages• Who can treat it?• How is it treated? 4 © 2011 Rising Tide
  5. 5. Lymphedema• What is it? – Definition: Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein rich fluid in the interstitial tissue. – This leads to swelling of a body part, usually in the extremities but also occurring in the face, neck, trunk, abdomen, or genitals. – Two types: primary and secondary • Primary – may be present at birth or develops in childhood or at puberty for unknown reasons • Secondary – known cause, such as surgery or radiation therapy for breast cancer. 5 © 2011 Rising Tide
  6. 6. Lymphedema• Who gets it? – Anyone who has had surgery, radiation, infection, or trauma. – Any event that interrupts the normal lymphatic pathway – Undeveloped countries, filariasis is the most common cause of lymphedema 6 © 2011 Rising Tide
  7. 7. Four Stages of Lymphedema• I. Latency• II. Stage 1 (Reversible)• III. Stage 2 (Spontaneously Irreversible)• IV. Stage 3 (Elephantiasis) 7 © 2011 Rising Tide
  8. 8. Early Identification• Early treatment may lead to better outcomes• Lymphedema is a chronic condition; no cure• Must be well-managed to maintain quality of life and be able to perform activities of daily living• Detecting subclinical lymphedema (bioimpedance) 8 © 2011 Rising Tide
  9. 9. Who can treat lymphedema?• Medical professionals who have received specialized training• Nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists• Directories available (see reference page) 9 © 2011 Rising Tide
  10. 10. How is it treated?• Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) – Gold standard of treatment – Four components • Skin care • Manual Lymph Drainage • Compression Therapy • Decongestive Exercises 10 © 2011 Rising Tide
  11. 11. Skin Care 11 © 2011 Rising Tide
  12. 12. Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) 12 © 2011 Rising Tide
  13. 13. Compression 13 © 2011 Rising Tide
  14. 14. Sleeves, Gloves, & Gauntlets 14 © 2011 Rising Tide
  15. 15. Decongestive Exercise 15 © 2011 Rising Tide
  16. 16. What can I do today?• Be aware of potential “red flags” of lymphedema development• Learn all you can – empower yourself through education• Be prepared to educate others (including your physician)• Consider adopting the risk reducing behaviors suggested by the NLN.• Maintain normal body weight 16 © 2011 Rising Tide
  17. 17. In Closing• The goal of this presentation was to inform you – not scare you.• Conquering cancer is always the primary focus• Every treatment has some type of side effect• Knowledge gives you control – if you did not know before, you now know what to look for and what to do• It is about healing the whole person, improving quality of life, and restoring hope! 17 © 2011 Rising Tide
  18. 18. References• American Cancer Society. (2011). What causes lymphedema? Retrieved from phedema/WhatEveryWomanwithBreastCancerShouldKnow/index• Klose Training & Consulting, LLC. (n.d.). Therapist Directory. Retrieved from• Lymphology Association of North America. (2008). Certified LANA Therapists. Retrieved from• National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. (2012). About us. Retrieved from• National Lymphedema Network. (2011). Lymphedema clinics and therapists. Retrieved from• National Lymphedema Network. (2012). Position statement of the national lymphedema network. Lymphedema risk reduction practices. Retrieved from• Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy. (2012). Therapist referrals. Retrieved from 18 © 2011 Rising Tide