The effectiveness of an interactive theatre intervention on improving patient adherence to self-management regimens for breast cancer-related lymphedema
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Breast cancer survivors are at lifetime risk for the development of breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL), a chronic, potentially-debilitating, and -disfiguring condition that requires life-long symptom management. Adherence to BCRL self-management is critical to preventing BCRL progression and complications; however, barriers to effective self-management, including complexities of treatment, can negatively affect adherence. Preliminary work for this study has identified physiological, psychological, and psychosocial barriers to successful BCRL self-management. One of the main barriers identified was lack of BCRL education and support for both patients and health care providers, suggesting a need for alternative methods of providing education and support. Currently, printed information is commonly used for patient education and support. This randomized study compared printed information about BCRL to printed information about BCRL and attendance at an Interactive Theatre (IT) performance (n = 36 participants; 19/17). Circumferential and perometric measures were taken at baseline to document BCRL status and valid, reliable questionnaires relevant to symptom management, self-efficacy, and self-regulation were administered pre- and post-intervention. An interactive approach to BCRL education and support with self-management has potential to improve patient outcomes of adherence and coping with BCRL.
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