Post-breast cancer lymphedema in aging women: self-management and implications for nursing
05/01/2005 - Armer JM, Heckathorn PW.J Gerontol Nurs. 2005 May;31(5):29-39
"More than 2 million women living with breast cancer in this country are at lifetime risk for lymphedema (LE) development. Accounting for 25% of all cancer survivors, the majority of these breast cancer survivors are older than 65. Unmanaged LE greatly impacts quality of life for breast cancer survivors, potentially affecting interpersonal and family relationships, functional abilities, occupational roles, self-image, and self-esteem. As the number of breast cancer survivors increases due to improved detection and treatment, it becomes all the more important that health professionals focus on prevention, early detection, and treatment of LE among breast cancer survivors of all ages. A case study of an 88-year-old breast cancer survivor with LE is presented to illustrate the effect of LE on psychosocial issues and functional abilities among aging women. Guidelines for LE prevention and management are presented, with application to the special needs of the older breast cancer survivor. Nursing implications are discussed, with recommendations for future study."