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Breast Cancer survivors diagnosed with secondary lymphedema have decreased quality of life and experience greater challenges when attempting to return to work compared to survivors who do not have secondary lymphedema. Limited research is available in understanding the impact breast cancer-related lymphedema has on survivors transitioning from traditional medical care to return to work. Occupational therapists specializing in Lymphedema therapy have the unique training skills and knowledge to address the challenges this population faces, as well as the tools needed to educate patients and their family members on how to manage returning to work, and make any adaptations to their work environment in order to achieve overall satisfaction and quality of life. A quantitative study was done to identify the impact BCRL has had on the role changes survivors with secondary lymphedema experience, as well as satisfaction with work. Results collected from the study were indicative of decreased overall satisfaction with return to work secondary to diagnosis, significant role changes with decreased independence and difficulties from employers, as well as little to no therapeutic services addressing return to work during this survivorship phase. Future recommendations include developing a program addressing return to work and successful techniques manage lymphedema symptoms of the affected limb within the work environment.

Publication Date

Spring 4-13-2022


University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences

Medical Subject Headings

Breast Cancer Lymphedema, Cancer Survivors, Occupational Therapy, Return to Work, Personal Satisfaction, Quality of Life


Occupational Therapy | Oncology


Poster presented at the Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, held online at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences April 12-14, 2022.

Analysis of Role Changes for Women with Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema to Return to Work