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Diagnosis and Treatment of Lymphedema in Patients With Breast Cancer

Lauren McCaulley

Jennifer Smith

lymphedema, interdisciplinary, patient-centered, quality of life
CJON 2014, 18(5), E97-E101. DOI: 10.1188/14.CJON.E97-E101

Lymphedema is a distressing consequence of breast cancer treatment affecting the patient in all domains of quality of life. Early identification and diagnosis are key to preventing long-term consequences. The goal of lymphedema management is to slow the progression and provide symptomatic relief to maintain quality of life. Preoperative education, intensive postoperative follow-up, and long-term survivorship care are important to minimize risk factors for developing lymphedema and to provide a mechanism for early detection, treatment, and patient self-care. An interdisciplinary approach, including nutritionists, physical therapists, psychologists, and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), is essential to provide a patient-centered approach to the management of lymphedema. APRNs are critical in providing comprehensive assessments, ongoing follow-up care, and patient education in self-care strategies.

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