Management of secondary lymphedema related to breast cancer.
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AbstractOBJECTIVE To review recent literature on the management of secondary lymphedema following breast cancer.QUALITY OF EVIDENCE MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, PubMed,and the Internet were searched for articles published between 2005 and 2009. Articles were evaluated using Sackett's levels of evidence. The literature search focused on primary research and systematic reviews.MAIN MESSAGE Secondary lymphedema related to breast cancer is an ongoing challenge. Evidence suggests that there are several safe and beneficial treatments, including complex decongestive therapy, physiotherapy, and exercise. Furthermore, resistive exercises,previously contraindicated on the affected side, have been found to be both beneficial and safe with careful progression and monitoring. Exercise guidelines and patient education topics are presented with a comprehensive reference list for further reading.CONCLUSION Advances in cancer treatment, cancer and exercise research, and lymphedema management require that physicians have a basic understanding of the current evidence to provide appropriate patient education and referral.
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