Diagnosis of Upper-Quadrant Lymphedema Secondary to Cancer: Clinical Practice Guideline From the Oncology Section of APTA

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The Oncology Section of APTA developed a clinical practice guideline to aid the clinician in diagnosing secondary upper-quadrant cancer-related lymphedema.


Following a systematic review of published studies and a structured appraisal process, recommendations were written to guide the physical therapist and other health care clinicians in their diagnostic process. Overall, clinical practice recommendations were formulated on the basis of the evidence for each diagnostic method and were assigned a grade based on the strength of the evidence for different patient presentations and clinical utility.


In an effort to make these clinically applicable, recommendations were based on the characteristics as to the location and stage of a patient's upper-quadrant lymphedema.

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