Advanced Practice

Lymphedema: Improving Screening and Treatment Among At-Risk Breast Cancer Survivors

Kelly Reichart

lymphedema, breast neoplasms, prevention and control
CJON 2017, 21(1), 21-25. DOI: 10.1188/17.CJON.21-25

Inadequate peripheral lymphedema screening is a persistent gap in the provision of quality survivorship care at many breast cancer centers. Lymphedema should be identified and treated during the subclinical stage, when it is more likely reversible. The purpose of this project was to integrate a screening process for patients with breast cancer at risk for lymphedema, using bioimpedance spectroscopy via the L-Dex®, in a breast cancer center. A protocol was developed that included specific criteria for early patient referral to physical therapy.


  • For breast cancer survivors, a screening protocol should be established that uses bioimpedance spectroscopy to identify subclinical lymphedema.
  • Advanced practice nurses should provide lymphedema education to patients.
  • Early identification and referral to physical therapy based on the screening protocol could reduce the incidence of clinical lymphedema and the associated effects.
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