OBJECTIVES - To provide an overview of the anatomy and physiology of the lymphatic system and the pathophysiology of lymphedema.
DATA SOURCES - Peer-reviewed publications, textbooks, and professional experience.
CONCLUSION - Many cancer patients and survivors are at risk for lymphedema that can occur in any area of the body.
IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE - Nurses should become leaders in the early identification of lymphedema. When caring for patients with lymphedema, nurses should: 1) encourage self-care, 2) provide emotional support, 3) offer patient and lay caregiver education, 4) assess symptoms patients with lymphedema may be experiencing, and 5) develop a plan of management.
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