Occupational Therapists’ Role in Reducing the Risk of Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema Prior to Diagnosis




Asfoor, Lina

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL) is a common complication that occur among breast cancer survivors after surgical or radiation interventions. Nearly 40% of breast cancer survivors develop BCRL, though the International Society of Lymphology (ISL) classifies all those with a compromised lymphatic system as having stage 0 lymphedema. Breast cancer related lymphedema can be debilitating for breast cancer survivors, affecting them physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and financially. Nevertheless, current literature offers no evidence to support a standard approach to improve management at stage 0 lymphedema. Occupational therapists (OTs) can help breast cancer survivors address BCRL at its early stages in order to improve performance outcomes and survivors' quality of life. A high demand is currently present to educate breast cancer survivors on BCRL and its prevention. This article thus aims to identify best practice in minimizing the risk of developing BCRL beyond stage 0 and distinguish the role of OTs in this practice.



Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema, Lymphedema, Breast Cancer, Occupational Therapy, Swelling, Prevention, Management