Lymphedema is a chronic medical condition that results in the swelling of any part or parts of the body when the lymphatic vessels or lymph nodes are damaged or inadequate. In the United States, cancer treatments (e.g., surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy) are the leading cause of secondary lymphedema. Oncology nurses play an important role in ensuring that patients with secondary lymphedema receive timely diagnoses with implementation of a proper treatment plan. Under- or untreated lymphedema is progressive and can lead to infection, disfigurement, disability, and death. Therefore, if the disease is not identified and treated in the earlier stages, patient prognosis is worse and treatment more costly.
Bruce, S. D. (2013). Before you press that button: A look at chemotherapy errors. <i>Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 17</i>, 31-32. doi:10.1188/13.CJON.31-32