Background:Lymphedema is one of the major treatment complications following breast cancer surgery and radiation. As the majority of women who develop breast cancer are at the age of employment, occupational functioning and employment are issues of concern. This study is novel in exploring the ways that lymphedema affects their work experience.Methods:A multiple-case study methodology drawn from Yin’s definition was employed. A total of 13 female survivors who developed breast cancer–related lymphedema participated by completing a survey and a 60-min semi-structured interview.Results:Four main themes emerged: (1) breast cancer–related lymphedema affects physical and emotional functioning associated with work; (2) ongoing treatment for breast cancer–related lymphedema creates challenges for work; (3) environmental factors affect the return-to-work experience; and (4) personal factors play a key role in adjusting to return-to-work.Conclusion:Both breast cancer–related lymphedema and its treatment have direct and indirect effects on work, with environmental and personal factors also shaping the work-return experience. This study suggests that breast cancer survivors with lymphedema who wish to return to work face potential barriers, and that gaps remain in the availability of supports.
Sun, Yuanlu (April); Shigaki, Cheryl; and Armer, Jane, "The influence of breast cancer related lymphedema on women’s return-to-work" (2020). Nursing Faculty Works. 9.
Available at: https://irl.umsl.edu/nursing-faculty/9