A Comparison of the Quality of Life in Patients With Primary and Secondary Lower Limb Lymphedema: A Mixed-Methods Study

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Abstract

Patients with lower limb lymphedema experience symptoms that may differ in intensity and distress. This mixed-methods study compares symptom intensity and distress and the impact of lymphedema on patients' quality of life by primary and secondary (cancer and noncancer) lymphedema groups. Individuals completed an online questionnaire (i.e., demographic form, Lymphedema Symptom Intensity and Distress Survey-Leg, and an open-ended question). Analyses included descriptive and inferential statistics (quantitative data) and content analysis (qualitative data). Participants differed statistically significantly by gender, employment status, and lymphedema location. Groups differed significantly in lack of self-confidence, χ2(df = 2) = 9.19, p = .010. Cancer patients reported higher intensity and distress scores for some symptoms, but these differences were not statistically significant. Patients reported lacking psychosocial well-being and resources and experiencing physical and functional impairments and treatment and care challenges. Patients with lower limb lymphedema experience psychosocial impairments and problems with quality of and access to care.

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