Physical therapists treating patients with a cancer history may identify signs and symptoms of new or recurrent disease. The purpose of this report is to review the management of a patient with cancer related lymphedema who developed new disease during therapy.
The 78-year-old patient with a prostate cancer history and chronic lymphedema in both legs received Combined Decongestive Therapy after surgical repair of a hip fracture aggravated the swelling. Pretreatment, the right lower extremity was 63% larger than the left.
After an initial reduction in RLE volume, the swelling regressed despite appropriate therapy. Testing revealed adenocarcinoma in the ipsilateral groin and a new mantle cell lymphoma.
This report describes the management of secondary lymphedema complicated by hip fracture and a new cancer diagnosis. Vigilance is essential when assessing patient complaints as signs and symptoms of new or recurrent disease may develop during physical therapy intervention.