Samples Health Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast Cancer Treatment

668 words 3 page(s)

The article that I chose to review for this paper appeared in the journal The American Journal of Nursing and is entitled ‘Lymphodema after breast cancer treatment.’ It is published by Bonnie Davis. I will begin by giving a summary of the findings of the paper and will then discuss in detail what it was that I found especially interesting about the information that it provides for those who are interested in the treatments for breast cancer.

The article covers cases of Lymphodema after breast cancer treatment and attempts to establishes what causes such cases and how they can be effectively prevented. The article begins by defining Lymphodema as something that results from a damaged or blocked lymphatic system, which causes proteins and fluids to remain in intersitial spaces after treatment has been given for breast cancer. If these fluids are not removed then they can lead to a patient becoming increasingly vulnerable to infection that will in its turn lead to a progressive worsening of the original condition (Davis, 1995, p 24). The article goes onto draw on existing research in order to suggest possible kinds of treatment and prevention. It states that avoiding high altitude while receiving treatment may well be an effective mode of prevention. Davis also notes that avoiding minor traumas such a animal scratches, insect bite, sport injuries or anything that may lead to an infection that may in itself trigger the condition are also highly effective means of controlling the condition, although it is clear that these measures may not be possible in all cases.

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Finally, the article also suggests different modes of management. This management ranges from effective massage of the areas affected in order to disperse excess fluids (Humble, 1996) as well as the administration of specific medications intended to deal with the fluid that accumulates in such cases and to enable effective dispersal (Grand, 1994). The article then ends with a suggestion that more research is needed in order to understand precisely why women are susceptible to the condition after having received breast cancer treatment, and with a call for advocacy and campaigning on behalf of nurses and those close to patients in order to ensure that sufficient time and research is granted in order to minimize the debilitating effects that may result from the condition.

I am drawn to this article for several reasons. First of all because I feel that the condition that it describes is under researched and is often not known about by the general public. The image that exists at the moment is that breast cancer is something that may affect almost any woman, however there is little focus or awareness on the consequences that women must live with after they have received treatment for the condition. The article does an excellent job of explaining Lymphedema and of drawing attention to the various ways in which those who suffer from it can be helped. This is something that I feel is deeply important in order to raise awareness of the risks women face. It is also important, I believe, to make sure that the emphasis is placed on making sure that more research and time is devoted to the understanding of the effects of treatment. The fact that the article is able to combine a call for advocacy with a detailed and informative account of both the condition and the way in which it is treated, makes it a very important study.

In conclusion, Davis’s work on Lymphedema describes the condition, the at risk groups and modes of treatment available. Most importantly, it also places emphasis on the real need to research treatment and prevention. It is the combination of these factors that I find most interesting about the article.

  • Davis, Bonnie S. “Lymphodema after Breast Cancer Treatment.” (2001). The American Journal of Nursing. 101 (4) : 24-27. Print.
  • Granda, C. (1994). “Nursing management of patients with lymphedema associated with breast cancer therapy. Cancer Nurs. 17 (3) : 229-35. Print.
  • Humble, Ca. (1995). “Lymphedema: incidence, pathophysiology, management and nursing care.” Oncal Nurs Forum. 85 (10) : 1347-56. Print.