Department of Nursing, Cukurova University Medical Faculty, Balcali, Adana, Turkey.
To evaluate an educational and exercise program for the prevention and progression of post-mastectomy lymphedema of the arm and shoulder.
Fifty-five patients who had undergone mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection between June 2009 and January 2010 were included in this study. The patients were informed by a trainer nurse about the precautions they should take to prevent the development of lymphedema. The patients were also trained for the appropriate exercises and were given written educational material prepared by the investigators.
Among the participants, 96.4% underwent modified radical mastectomy (MRM) and 3.6% breast-conserving (BCS) surgery. The mean postoperative follow-up period was 9.87 ± 17.55 months. The degree of lymphedema was found lower, even within 6 months, in the patients that exercised as compared to the patients that did no .
The results indicate that the risk of development and progression of mastectomy-related lymphedema was reduced with education and exercise provided by trained nurses at an early stage.