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Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 2005–2013 | Cite as

Living with lymphoedema—the perspective of cancer patients: a qualitative study

  • Ángela Río-González
  • Francisco Molina-RuedaEmail author
  • Domingo Palacios-Ceña
  • Isabel M. Alguacil-Diego
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to describe the lived experience of lymphoedema and the barriers faced by cancer sufferers receiving physiotherapy outpatient treatment.

Methods

A qualitative, phenomenological study was performed. Purposeful sampling method was used. Data collection methods included unstructured and semi-structured interviews and researcher field notes. A thematic analysis was used. The study was conducted following the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research guidelines.

Results

Eleven patients (62.18 ± 10.14 years) (90.91% women) participated. One theme was identified with different subgroups. The main theme ‘Living a life with multiple barriers’—formed by the subthemes ‘Discovering physical and psychological barriers’, ‘Searching information’, ‘Building relationships’ and ‘Controlling expenses’—displays the daily difficulties they must face in areas such as work. The patients reported that lymphoedema is a constant emotional and physical challenge. They need to adapt their lives to their new situation, learning how to manage the lymphoedema.

Conclusions

Patients considered lymphoedema as a clinical situation with multiple barriers and they found that it does alter their quality of life. These results can be applied in onco-haematology units to develop specific protocols for customers.

Keywords

Lymphoedema Medical oncology Patients Physical therapy Qualitative research 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

We have full control of all primary data and we agree to allow the journal to review the data if requested.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

The study was approved by the Rey Juan Carlos University Clinical Research Ethics Committee (internal code 180120160116) and performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study. Data were treated anonymously and confidentially according to the Spanish Personal Data Protection Act and the Biomedical Research Act.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sport Science and Physical TherapyUniversidad Europea de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation and Physical MedicineUniversidad Rey Juan CarlosAlcorcónSpain

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