The University of Arizona

A 10 MINUTE SELF-CARE PROGRAM MAY REDUCE BREAST CANCER-RELATED LYMPHEDEMA: A SIX-MONTH PROSPECTIVE LONGITUDINAL COMPARATIVE STUDY

Y Arinaga, F Sato, N Piller, T Kakamu, K Kikuchi, T Ohtake, A Sakuyama, F Yotsumoto, T Hori, N Sato

Abstract


Patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) need a life-long self-care program that they can adhere to enable them to manage their lymphedema. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a holistic BCRL self-care program that patients could easily adhere to and comply with. A prospective, longitudinal, comparative study between affected arms and unaffected arms in unilateral breast cancer patients was implemented over a six-month period. Both the lymphedematous and unaffected arms of 23 patients with unilateral BCRL were followed and measured. The daily 10-minute holistic BCRL self-care program consisted of modified Japanese rajio taiso (Japanese radio calisthenics), a gentle arm exercise combined with deep breathing, skin moisturizing care using a traditional lymphatic drainage technique, and basic self-care education. Arm and edema volume, relative volume change, resistance of the skin to compression (fibrosis), lymphedema-related symptoms, skin condition, and self-care were assessed. At the end of six-months the volume of all limb segments and resistance of the tissues to compression at all measurement points of the affected arm were significantly reduced. On the unaffected side, only the  volume of the forearm and the whole arm was significantly reduced and fibrosis significantly reduced only in the forearm. There was no significant difference in edema volume and relative volume change. Lymphedema-related symptoms significantly improved. Perceived adherence, effectiveness, burden, score and average time for self-care significantly increased. Our results demonstrate that this 10-minute self-care program may improve BCRL and its self-care.

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