Association between lymphedema self-care adherence and lymphedema outcomes among women with breast cancer-related lymphedema

Justin C. Brown, Anagha Kumar, Andrea L. Cheville, Julia C. Tchou, Andrea B. Troxel, Susan R. Harris, Kathryn H. Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether adherence to selfcare modalities for breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) predicts BCRL outcomes among 128 breast cancer survivors who participated in the 12-mo physical activity and lymphedema trial. Design: This was a prospective cohort study. Adherence to ten BCRL self-care modalities, as recommended in the clinical practice guidelines for the management of BCRL, was assessed by a questionnaire at baseline. BCRL outcomes assessed at baseline and 12 mos included volumetry, circumferences, bioimpedence spectroscopy, the Norman lymphedema survey, and therapist-defined lymphedema exacerbations requiring treatment. Generalized linear models were used to estimate the relationship between adherence to BCRL self-care modalities and the likelihood of experiencing a BCRL outcome. Results: Adherence to BCRL self-care activities did not predict experiencing any BCRL outcomes at 12 mos. Levels of adherence to BCRL self-care modalities did not predict a 5%or greater decrease in interlimb volume (Ptrend = 0.79),5%or greater decrease in the sum of interlimb arm circumferences (Ptrend = 0.47), 10% or greater decrease in bioimpedence spectroscopy (Ptrend = 0.83), 1 or greater decrease in self-reported lymphedema symptoms (Ptrend = 0.91), or therapistdefined lymphedema exacerbation requiring treatment (Ptrend = 0.84). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that levels of BCRL self-care adherence do not predict BCRL outcomes among breast cancer survivors with stable lymphedema who were followed for 12 mos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-296
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 20 2015


  • Clinical guidelines
  • Compliance
  • Measurement
  • Physiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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