Jong Kyoung Choi , MD 1 , Hui Dong Kim , MD 1 , Young Joo Sim , MD, PhD 1 , Ghi Chan Kim , MD, PhD 1 , Dong Kyu Kim , MD 1 , Byeng Chul Yu , MD, PhD 2 , Si-Sung Park , MD, PhD 3 , Ho Joong Jeong , MD, PhD , 1
25 August 2015
To support the establishment of lymphedema education plans and the actual practice of education by investigating the current lymphedema awareness status of Korean breast cancer patients.
cross-sectional population survey was conducted in 116 breast cancer patients in the Busan-Gyeongnam area. The survey included questions regarding demographic characteristics, breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) risk factors, and characteristics and treatments of the disease. Some of the items were scored to determine the level of awareness. The items that affect the awareness of lymphedema were investigated by statistical analysis.
Eighty-one of the 116 patients answered that they had heard of lymphedema, and 30 of them (25.86%) had received explanations about the possibility of lymphedema before surgery. Only 20 patients (17.25%) knew that lymphedema is not a completely curable disease, 24 patients (20.68%) thought that lymphedema does not require any treatment, and only 56 patients (48.27%) knew that lymphedema is treated in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. The main factors that affected patients' awareness of lymphedema were their age, chemotherapy, duration of breast cancer, and lymphedema treatment history.
The majority of survey participants who were breast cancer patients either lacked awareness of BCRL or had false ideas about it, indicating the inadequate level of education provided for lymphedema. In the case of breast cancer diagnosis, early and continuous education for future management is essential, and the framework for the provision of education including education protocols related to age, disease duration, and lymphedema treatment is needed.