While physiotherapy is an effective treatment, it is also very expensive. Findings from a recent study showed an increase in breast cancer lymphedema therapy utilization, which was a consequence of an increased understanding of the risks and consequences of lymphedema. Appropriate and effective education on breast cancer lymphedema management is imperative to support and prevent the condition.
There are variations in the magnitude and incidence of lymphedema reported by different sources. Findings from a recent study identified a number of sources and their estimates of cases of breast cancer lymphedema. This information and methods have been validated in a community based sample and may be used for future research studies.
Lymphedema can affect physical and psychosocial functioning of breast cancer survivors, but the effect is not consistent. It is evident, however, that lymphedema remains an under-recognised problem. Strategies to identify and provide supportive nursing interventions are required to address this potentially distressing and disabling condition.
Current research is uncovering more causes of breast cancer edema. However, some issues can still not be solved. For instance, the cause of the progressive pain experienced by breast cancer edema patients remains unclear. It is still uncertain which gene participates in the development of breast cancer edema. Some genes, such as the gene F871V, could be new causes for breast cancer edema.
Based on previous retrospective and prospective studies, the treatment of breast cancer-associated lymphedema resulted in subjective, but not objective, complete resolution of lymphedema in over 80% of those treated. Although a randomized prospective study is needed to confirm these findings, we suggest a randomized trial to test one of two interventions: conservative and aggressive treatment, or observation in patients with lymphedema.
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer lymphoedema include the progressive swelling of the arm, leg, or buttocks. There may also be swelling at the back of the neck, around the nipple, or around the arm when the person is lying down. There may also be pain caused by lymphoedema. Patients must be aware of the symptoms of breast cancer lymphoedema to get best outcomes with the use of compression garments during treatment and after surgery.
The juzo sleeve and glove are two newly developed products that can alleviate the symptoms of breast cancer-related lymphedema in conjunction with radiotherapy. It can make a tremendous contribution to improving prognosis of patients with breast cancer as well as the quality of life.
Both the juzo sleeves and the juzo gloves appear to provide adequate levels of compression to treat lymphedema in breast cancer patients. These devices are being used in clinical trials to test their ability to reduce the symptoms and improving the quality of life.
Recent findings could not be generalized to the whole population because of selection bias. Only two randomized controlled trials, both double blinded and placebo controlled, could be included. It was difficult to ascertain the number of participants due to lack of objective data and the lack of consistency in the study reports regarding what participants received. The trials had significant limitations as well, especially the low enrollment rates, loss to follow-up, and heterogeneity of the study populations. Furthermore, the study design and outcome measurements were not applicable to all participants. Recent findings presented here should not be applied to an entire patient population.
The primary cause of breast cancer lymphedema is not related to alterations in the lymphatic system and should be investigated by other means to discover new therapeutic opportunities. Women should receive support from their physicians regarding effective ways to control breast cancer lymphedema.
While JCSG and compression bandaging are used primarily in conjunction with postmastectomy bracing for breast cancer patients, this combination may be insufficient to prevent BRFs. In addition to the well known compression bandaging, we have shown a promising benefit of the JCSG model of postmastectomy treatment. We propose that in clinical practice an initial bandage followed by JCSG is effective for those patients with high risk factors for BRF and would lead to the detection and treatment of asymptomatic BRF earlier in the course of the treatment. JCSG should be considered as a treatment modality in high-risk patients without indications for conventional bandaging.