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Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema: Implications for Family Leisure Participation


Department of Family Studies and Social Work, Miami University, 101 McGuffey Hall, Oxford, OH 45056 (


An estimated 20% of breast cancer survivors face the chronic condition of breast cancer-related lymphedema. This study explored the ways in which women with this condition experienced changes in their participation in family leisure as one indicator of family functioning. Participants (N = 27) were interviewed regarding lifestyles before and after lymphedema, perceptions of personal independence, relationships with others, and personal coping. Data were analyzed using a cooperative, inductive format. Participants described a heightened sense of caution regarding participation in family leisure activities. Participants coped with lymphedema by either modifying the way they participated or not taking part in family leisure activities. Professionals may use these findings to assist women and their families in modifying leisure activities and exploring new activities.