Breast cancer–related lymphedema (BCRL) is a disease secondary to the removal of, or damage to, lymph nodes that can increase emotional and physical burden, shoulder impairment, and functional disability in those affected by breast cancer. The multifactorial impact of lymphedema may also negatively affect quality of life.
Although research supports the role of early lymphedema education including the identification of lymphedema risk factors and early professional intervention, we do not yet have a risk management tool that directly links this information to self-directed treatment. The Lymphedema Action Plan (LeAP) was designed to fill this gap.
The LeAP is divided into 3 categories (green light, yellow light, and red light) that serve to link recognized risk reduction strategies and early signs and symptoms of lymphedema to established actions that can improve lymphedema outcomes. It was designed to empower those at risk for BCRL by educating patients and caregivers about (1) recognized risk factors and proactive behavior modification, (2) early signs and symptoms of lymphedema, (3) actions that can be taken to control an exacerbation, and (4) when to see a medical provider, with the ultimate goal of optimizing control of this incurable disease.
Physical Therapist, Board-Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, Certified Lymphedema Therapist, OrthoRehab Specialists, Inc, Edina, MN
Correspondence: Renata Beaman, PT, MS, MA, OCS, CLT, OrthoRehab Specialists, Inc, 6600 France Ave South, Ste 260, Edina, MN 55435 (email@example.com).
The author declares no conflicts of interest.