2015 Volume 27 Issue 9 Pages 2743-2748
[Purpose] Post mastectomy lymphedema is common among breast cancer survivors. It leads to physical discomfort and functional impairment. Rehabilitation forms the mainstay of treatment and is multidisciplinary. [Subjects and Methods] Sixty post mastectomy patients were allocated randomly and assigned to either a conventional treatment group (n=30) or a complete decongestive therapy (CDT) group (n=30). The conventional treatment group received manual lymphatic drainage, wore a low elastic compression garment, received glenohumeral mobilization, and performed deep breathing exercises, and the complete decongestive therapy group received CDT from a trained physiotherapist and a daily home program along with the conventional treatment, 5 days a week for 6 weeks. [Results] Arm circumference measurements were taken at five levels: the wrist, mid forearm, elbow, mid-upper arm, and axilla. The upper extremity function was evaluated using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH) questionnaire, and pain was assessed using the visual analogue scale. Measurements were taken at baseline, and at 4th and 6th weeks after the start of intervention. Within and between group comparisons showed significant improvements in the CDT group. [Conclusion] Complete decongestive therapy and a home program assists breast cancer related lymphedema survivors in regaining their lost functions. It also helps to improve their independence in daily activities, reduce their need for caregivers, and thereby improving their quality of life. Therefore, the results of this study showed that the CDT with a home program is an effective treatment for reducing post mastectomy lymphedema.