Original Article

Investigation of Experiences of Women Who Developed Lymphedema Related to Breast Cancer Treatment


  • Nihal Evsine Müezzinler
  • Özgül Karayurt

Received Date: 26.09.2013 Accepted Date: 06.12.2013 Eur J Breast Health 2014;10(1):23-29


To reveal experiences of women who develop lymphedema due to primary breast cancer.

Materials and Methods:

This is a descriptive and qualitative research. Twenty women diagnosed with lymphedema due to primary breast cancer were included in the study. Data were collected with a patient characteristics form, a semi-structured interview form and in-depth interviews.


Five main themes and subthemes concerning experiences of women developing lymphedema due to primary breast cancer emerged. The main themes were recognizing lymphedema, the physical, emotional and social experiences and expectations from nurses.


After developing lymphedema, the women experienced physical difficulties in treatment of lymphedema, self-care, housework, sleeping, job and the season of summer, emotional difficulties including worries about the future and considering themselves as disabled, social difficulties in their relationships with their husbands, children and other members of their families and friends, body image and hobbies. They expected nurses to give information about prevention, treatment and care of lymphedema and wished to receive care from the same nurse. It is recommended that the same nurse should provide care for these patients during treatment of breast cancer (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone-therapy etc.). It is also recommended that education programs should be developed to improve nurses’ knowledge about lymphedema due to breast cancer, care for this condition, difficulties experienced by the patients and these patients’ expectations from nurses.

Keywords: Lymphedema, breast cancer, nursing, qualitative research