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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848

Abstract

MAREE, Johanna E.. Yes, breast cancer related lymphoedema can be managed. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.1, pp.1-7. ISSN 2071-9736.

The purpose of the study was to demonstrate that breast cancer related lymphoedema can be managed by means of Complete Decompression Therapy and consequently improve quality of life. An instrumental case study design was used. The target population was all women with breast cancer related lymphoedema living in Tshwane, the context of the study. The patient with the most severe breast cancer related lymphoedema treated by the researcher is presented. Mixed methods were used to gather data. The expected 60% limb volume reduction could not be achieved after 4 weeks of induction therapy. After 8.5 weeks of treatment, the limb volume reduced from the initial 3841 mL to 1639 mL, a 57.2% reduction. Patient compliance to compression therapy was a challenge and led to relapse extending the induction phase of treatment. Despite the prolonged treatment, the limb volume reduction improved the patient's quality of life. The study demonstrated and confirmed that despite a degree of non-compliance, breast cancer related lymphoedema can be managed with Complete Decongestive Therapy which, in turn, improves the quality of life of women living with breast cancer.

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