Objectives: The study purpose was to examine perspectives of women with newly diagnosed breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) regarding their quality of life over seven years.
Method: Data were collected over seven years using the Lymphedema and Breast Cancer Questionnaire (LBCQ). Participants with BCRL answered open-ended questions corresponding to changes in mood and lifestyle from post-op through annual interviews and surveys. Self reported data from 97 participants with BCRL were analyzed using in vivo coding and template-style content analysis to elicit the impact of BCRL on quality of life domains.
Results: Data saturation was achieved as participants neared 30 to 36months post- breast cancer diagnosis. Three major themes were identified related to BCRL’s impact on: physical function; daily living and social function; and psychological function.
Discussion: Findings suggest that BCRL impacts quality of life not only soon after diagnosis, but also throughout survivorship years. Healthcare providers should develop programs to enhance quality of life for survivors with BCRL.