Lymphedema in the Mastectomy Postoperative Period: An Integrative Literature Review

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DOI: 10.4236/abcr.2013.24025    3,318 Downloads   6,498 Views   Citations


Aims and Objectives: To analyze the evidence available in the literature on the stages during which upper limb lymphedema after mastectomy occurs. Background: Among the adverse effects of breast cancer treatment, lymphedema is the most prevalent. Design: Integrative literature review. Methods: The Latin American and Caribbean Literature on Health Sciences (Literatura Latino-Americana e do Caribe em Ciências da Saúde—LILACS), PubMed, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) databases were used to select the pertinent studies. The identification data for these studies were summarized, and their methodological features and results were extracted. Results: Regarding the time elapsed since surgery, the highest prevalence of lymphedema corresponded to the late postoperative period, and regarding its severity, mild lymphedema was the most prevalent form. The prevalence was also the highest among the women who were subjected to radical mastectomy and radiotherapy. Conclusions: Many women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer use strategies for the prevention and control of lymphedema of the upper limb following mastectomy. Relevance to Clinical Practice: The findings of the present study might inform future studies aiming to assess strategies that can be started in the immediate and late postoperative stages to detect lymphedema early and prevent the increase of its prevalence during the late postoperative period after mastectomy.

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Fernandes, A. , Vidal, G. , Moreira, C. , Silva, T. , Valentim, P. and Santos, M. (2013) Lymphedema in the Mastectomy Postoperative Period: An Integrative Literature Review. Advances in Breast Cancer Research, 2, 154-160. doi: 10.4236/abcr.2013.24025.


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