The Effects of an Education Program of Lymphedema for Breast Cancer Patients

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Eunkyung Hwang, RN
Breast Care Center, Seoul National University Hospital, seoul, South Korea
Min Young Kim, RN, MSN, PhD, OCN, KOAPN
College of Nursing, Jeju National University, Jeju, South Korea
Young Mee Kim, RN, PhD
Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea

Objectives:To evaluate the effectiveness of education program consisting of three kinds of group education and one kind of personal education on lymphedema prevention and coping strategy.

Methods:A cross-sectional survey design was utilized. The data were collected by the questionnaires from 125 breast cancer patients about general and medical characteristics, experience of education, anxiety, depression and knowledge for lymphedema management at one university hospital in Seoul, Korea. The data were analyzed using chi-square test, t-test and ANOVA.

Results:The mean age of the participants was 52.3 (SD=8.8). 69.6% of them participated in one or more kinds of education programs. Among group education programs, the participants attended education of ‘lymphedema’ most (50.4%), followed by ‘management after breast cancer surgery’ (45.6%), and ‘Understanding breast cancer' (39.2%). 22.4% of them received the personal education from an education specialized nurse. The participants who had an experience to be educated had higher knowledge about lymphedema (p<.001). And according to the education experience, there was a significant difference in knowledge about coping with lymphedema - that is to say, applying decongestive stokings, exercise for lymphedema prevention and skin management.  However, there was no significant difference for occurrence of lymphedema according to the education experience. The participants who were educated personally by an education specialized nurse had a significantly lower score of anxiety or depression than those who were not (p<.005).

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that both group and personal education programs for breast cancer patients can raise knowledge and coping skills to improve understandings of and to prevent lymphedema. Therefore education about lymphedema for breast cancer patients should be incorporated into breast cancer nursing care. And especially, nurse’s personal education can play a pivotal role than group education in psychological aspects.