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Breast Cancer Related Lymphoedema

Breast Cancer related Lymphoedema and its management at IAD

Breast cancer-related lymphoedema (BCRL) is a secondary lymphoedema of the upper limb and is a common and possibly serious complication of breast cancer (BC) treatment and has been linked with the extent of breast and axillary surgery, and chemotherapy.  Patients with chronic BCRL have reduced quality of life which can be accredited to functional impairment or disability to continue routine work, discomfort, and repeated infection, which attributes to increased medical costs.  The patient also suffers psychologically, with anxiety, depression and embarrassment, and little or no social involvement.  Therefore, earlier intervention and management, reduce the development of the severe and irreversible symptoms of BCRL. Monitoring and management of BCRL reduce the rate of progression to chronic BCRL and helps the patient to lead a routine life

Integrative Management of breast cancer-related lymphoedema

Medical Counselling
Before any management begins, patients undergo a detailed counseling session with a dedicated counselor in their native language. Patients and their relatives receive complete treatment program details, preferably using disease-specific slide presentations and videos. The session covers potential concordance issues and manages the patients queries, explaining the therapy, safety measures, documentation and review systems, possible risks and benefits, costs to be incurred, the various interactions with different members of the team, and the informed consent process.

Integrative management of Breast cancer-related Lymphoedema
Institute of applied dermatology has designed a Home-based self-care, that if followed diligently, can stop or decrease the frequency of repeated acute attacks and prevent the disease from worsening.

This simplified treatment comprises of

  • Indian manual lymph drainage
  • Customized Compression protocol for upper limb
  • Yoga protocol that helps in lymph drainage and improves the range of movement in patients
  • Integrative Skincare-prevention and treatment of entry points

Patient Education
Patient education is one of the important aspects of lymphoedema management. Patients are educated sufficiently through classes and written materials to continue treatment at home. They are allowed to actively question their treatment to ensure complete understanding. Daily education classes are conducted with the help of PowerPoint presentations, information and educative materials, and audio-visual aids

  • Focused group discussions
  • Practical demonstration of treatment aspects
  • Actively involving patients and their bystanders.

Diet and Nutrition
A therapeutic diet plan based on an adequate balanced diet to suit disease conditions using recommendations in dermatology, nutrition, and dietetics (ND) and Indian traditional medicine (AYUSH) is provided that aids in Lymphoedema management.

What a breast cancer-related lymphoedema patient can expect after the Integrative
treatment at IAD

  • Improved quality of life pertaining to performing routine activities at ease
  • Skin improvement with reduced secondary infections
  • No acute attacks or reduced frequency of repeated acute attacks stopping the progression of the disease.