Breast Cancer Survivors' Intentions of Managing Lymphedema

Mei R. Fu, PhD, RN, CNS


Cancer Nurs. 2005;28(6):446-457. 

In This Article

Implications for Research and Practice

Descriptive phenomenological study enhances the understanding of the essential structures of experience.[30] Findings of the study have implications for future research and practice. The construct of managing lymphedema by breast cancer survivors has not been defined; nor have its attributes been identified and studied. The 4 revelatory intentions can be considered an initial step for conceptualizing the construct. Further phenomenological research should be conducted with different groups of breast cancer survivors to explore the similarities and differences regarding the essential structures of the experience to assist scholars and clinicians in defining the construct, identifying, and studying its attributes.

The essential structures depicted through the description of the revelatory intentions revealed the women's intentions of how they structured their experience of managing lymphedema. The described intentions represented the women's intentional acts and provided a different perspective to the assessment of lymphedema management. For example, after further refinement of the essential structures of the experience, it could be useful to develop interview tools based on different levels of intentions to assess the presence or absence of such intentional acts. Healthcare professionals and researchers can use such tools as the base for the dialogue with breast cancer survivors about their experiences; data could be analyzed to identify who will be at risk for having difficulties in keeping in mind the consequences, preventing their lymphedema from getting worse, getting ready to live with lymphedema, and integrating care of lymphedema into their daily lives. In addition, healthcare professionals can develop certain programs to help the breast cancer survivors to develop or enhance their intentions to promote lymphedema management.

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