Please login (Members) to view content or
(Nonmembers) this article.
Average: 4 (2 votes)
Online Exclusive Article

Living With Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema: A Synthesis of Qualitative Research

Marion Burckhardt
Marion Belzner
Almuth Berg
Steffen Fleischer
ONF 2014, 41(4), E220-E237 DOI: 10.1188/14.ONF.E220-E237

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the experience of female patients living with breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) to gain a comprehensive understanding of this experience. The review is designed as a qualitative meta-synthesis.

Data Sources: Electronic searches were conducted in MEDLINE®, CINAHL®, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and Social Sciences Citation Index. Articles were included where researchers used qualitative research methods and when a comprehensive description of methods and the study's findings were provided.

Data Synthesis: From 2,185 references, 13 articles were included. A total of 94 author and participant aggregations were extracted, qualitatively assessed, and assigned to one of 14 categories. Four themes relating to the experience of living with BCRL were identified: experience of everyday life, energy sapping, personal empowerment, and contribution of others.

Conclusions: Requirements of living with BCRL may only be influenced to a limited extent by the women themselves. They struggle with their situation, appearance, and the concomitant uncertainties. They feel strengthened where they succeed in developing a helpful view of their situation and where support structures are available to them.

Implications for Nursing: Professionals can employ this meta-synthesis by contextualizing it as part of a process of critical reflection on their own endeavors to meet the requirements of women living with BCRL.

Members Only

Access to this article is restricted. Please login to view the full article.

Not a current ONS Member or journal subscriber?
Join/Renew Membership or