Send to

Choose Destination
J Palliat Med. 2012 Jul;15(7):821-7. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2011.0494. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

Palliative care for cancer-related lymphedema: a systematic review.

Author information

Women's Health Breast Center, Truman Medical Centers, Kansas City, Missouri, USA.



Cancer-related lymphedema management in palliative care remains a challenge for health care professionals. We conducted a systematic review of the published literature related to the effectiveness of cancer-related lymphedema management in the palliative care setting.


Eleven major medical databases were searched. Manuscripts were selected for articles published from January 2004 to October 30, 2011, using search terms for lymphedema and palliative care. Eleven articles were selected based on defined eligibility criteria for final review and were categorized as lymphedema management in palliative care by topic experts. Articles were also rated for quality according to the Oncology Nursing Society Putting Evidence into Practice(®) classification.


Five case studies were identified addressing closed-controlled subcutaneous drainage; one retrospective study on manual lymphatic drainage (MLD); two case studies on compression therapy; and three case studies on complete decongestive therapy (CDT). All studies were rated in the category of "effectiveness not established" due to study limitations in design and sample size. Few studies included objective measures of outcomes, and there were no randomized controlled trials. There is a need for larger, well-designed research studies to test the effectiveness of management of cancer-related lymphedema in palliative care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center