Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Exercise and complete decongestive therapy best ways to manage lymphedema, expert says

Date:
October 22, 2012
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Many breast cancer survivors suffer from lymphedema, a chronic condition that causes body limbs to swell from fluid buildup, as a result of lymph node removal and radiation therapy. A cure for lymphedema does not exist, so individuals with the condition must find ways to manage the symptoms throughout their lifetimes. Now, a lymphedema expert has found that full-body exercise and complete decongestive therapy are the best ways for patients to minimize their symptoms and maintain their quality of life.

Nearly 40 percent of breast cancer survivors suffer from lymphedema, a chronic condition that causes body limbs to swell from fluid buildup, as a result of lymph node removal and radiation therapy. A cure for lymphedema does not exist, so individuals with the condition must find ways to manage the symptoms throughout their lifetimes. Now, a team of researchers and clinicians working with a University of Missouri lymphedema expert has found that full-body exercise and complete decongestive therapy (CDT) are the best ways for patients to minimize their symptoms and maintain their quality of life.

"There's a sense of empowerment -- of autonomy -- that comes from meeting the challenge of living with lymphedema," said Jane Armer, an MU nursing professor. "Some breast cancer survivors say that they've become a new person after cancer because they met a challenge, and they like the stronger person they've become. The challenge of lymphedema is similar. It's something that is pervasive in every part of life. It takes problem solving and persistence to manage the condition without letting it interfere with their goals."

Armer and her colleagues reviewed published research about lymphedema self-management in order to determine which practices were most effective in managing the condition. The researchers found that full-body exercise, such as weight lifting and stretching, was likely to be effective in minimizing lymphedema symptoms. In addition, the researchers concluded that complete decongestive therapy (CDT), a comprehensive treatment approach that incorporates skin care, exercise, manual lymphatic drainage and bandaging of swollen limbs, also helps patients effectively manage the condition.

"Previous research suggests that, the earlier the interventions, the better the outcomes," Armer said. "If patients can learn how to successfully manage the condition early on, then they can continue those processes throughout their lives, and their outcomes will be better than those of individuals who resist participating in self-care."

Armer is a professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and director of nursing research at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. The literature review, "Self-Management of Lymphedema," recently published in Nursing Research, was led by nurse colleagues, Sheila Ridner, professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, and Mei Fu, associate professor at New York University College of Nursing and MU nursing alumna. The review is the fifth in a series of 12 to be published in conjunction with the American Lymphedema Framework Project (ALFP). Another literature review, "A Systematic Review of the Evidence for Complete Decongestive Therapy in the Treatment of Lymphedema From 2004 to 2011," was published by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation earlier this year. This review was led by expert lymphedema clinicians and educators, Bonnie Lasinski, Long Island, N.Y.; Kathryn Thrift, Dallas; and DeCourcy Squire, Atlanta.

As director of the ALFP, Armer works alongside clinical experts and investigators to increase awareness of lymphedema and related disorders. The ALFP was founded in 2008 and is headquartered at the MU Center for Lymphedema Research, Practice and Health Policy. Its steering committee and staff currently are partnering with the International Lymphedema Framework (ILF) in producing an updated edition of the ILF Best Practice Document from 2006.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sheila H. Ridner, Mei R. Fu, Ausanee Wanchai, Bob R. Stewart, Jane M. Armer, Janice N. Cormier. Self-Management of Lymphedema. Nursing Research, 2012; 61 (4): 291 DOI: 10.1097/NNR.0b013e31824f82b2

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Exercise and complete decongestive therapy best ways to manage lymphedema, expert says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022145443.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2012, October 22). Exercise and complete decongestive therapy best ways to manage lymphedema, expert says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022145443.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Exercise and complete decongestive therapy best ways to manage lymphedema, expert says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022145443.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins