Breast Cancer Survivors' Intentions of Managing Lymphedema

Mei R. Fu, PhD, RN, CNS


Cancer Nurs. 2005;28(6):446-457. 

In This Article

Limitations of the Study

It cannot be claimed that the essential structures drawn from the interviews with these 12 breast cancer survivors are a characterization of the experience of managing lymphedema in all breast cancer survivors. It is possible that having the same researcher as the sole interviewer for all the interviews and the researcher's incomplete knowledge might impose bias on the intuited essential structures of the experience and the appraisal of the study findings. Participants in the study were women with willingness to disclose. It is possible that the participants in the study were women highly motivated with strong intentions to carry out their daily care for lymphedema; thus, the findings might not represent those who struggle with their lymphedema and those who are less motivated to take daily actions for their lymphedema care. Future study should focus on the identification of barriers regarding lymphedema management in breast cancer survivors.

It is recommended that phenomenological researchers investigate and compare the experience of other groups of breast cancer survivors with lymphedema, including women with different cultural and ethnic background, women younger than 40, women having lymphedema in the dominant arms and hands, and women having a job that requires more physical involvement of their affected arms and hands. It would be useful to conduct a longitudinal phenomenological study with triangulation of objective assessment of lymphedema and lymphedema-related symptoms to reveal the details of the promoting factors or barriers that impact the structures of how breast cancer survivors effectively manage their lymphedema.


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