Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date

2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Jo Voss

Keywords

Breast cancer-related lymphedema, symptom cluster, emotional health, Theory of Unpleasant Symptoms

Abstract

Survivorship of breast cancer may involve breast cancer-related lymphedema. On average, 40% of breast cancer survivors will develop breast cancer-related lymphedema within the first 2 years after treatment. Breast cancer-related lymphedema is a chronic, incurable disease that impacts the individual's physical, psychological, and social wellbeing. The design for this secondary analysis was a descriptive correlational design. The purpose was to determine the prevalence, clinical characteristics, and severity of the symptom cluster of breast swelling and chest wall swelling, identify the sociodemographic variables for the symptom cluster of breast swelling and chest wall swelling, and describe the relationship between the symptom cluster of breast swelling and chest wall swelling on emotional health and compare the emotional health of the symptoms cluster to participants without the symptom cluster. The Theory of Unpleasant Symptoms guided the secondary analysis. The study population consisted of women 21 years of age or older from a breast cancer clinic in New York. The data collected consisted of demographics, clinical information, and the Breast Cancer and Lymphedema Symptom Experience Index. The data in this secondary analysis was analyzed using descriptive statistics, the Chi-Square test, and the Kruskal-Wallis H test. This secondary analysis identified the prevalence of the symptom cluster of breast swelling and chest wall swelling to be 10% of the sample and the severity of the symptom cluster burden to have a median emotional distress subscale of 9 out of the potential 48. In addition, a significant difference was found with the median number of lymph nodes removed with breast reconstruction (p=.041), radiation to the axillary lymph nodes (p=.004), boost radiation to the tumor area after surgery (p=.041), and BMI groups (p=.041). There was also an association between the 12 emotions and the groups (p

Number of Pages

135

Publisher

South Dakota State University

Available for download on Friday, August 15, 2025

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Rights Statement

In Copyright