Breast cancer survivors' intentions of managing lymphedema

Mei R. Fu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to describe the experience of managing lymphedema in breast cancer survivors. A descriptive phenomenological method was used as a guide for developing a bracket, gathering data, and analyzing data. A cross-sectional design with a purposive sampling technique was employed. During the 3 private, semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews with each woman, 12 breast cancer survivors described how they managed lymphedema in their daily lives. A taxonomy of 3 levels was created to describe the essential structures of the experience from general, to mediating, to specific: revelatory intention, cluster intention, and unit intention. The study revealed that the women's major intentions of managing lymphedema were to keep in mind the consequences, prevent lymphedema from getting worse, get ready to live with lymphedema, and integrate the care of lymphedema into daily life. Findings of the study provided an insightful alternative to the compliance approach to lymphedema management. Instead of merely evaluating breast cancer survivors' degree of compliance with treatment, it is suggested that researchers and practitioners should also assess the impact of the presence or absence of the women's intentions on lymphedema management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-457
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Breast cancer
  • Experience
  • Lymphedema
  • Management
  • Phenomenology
  • Survivors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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