Introduction: Breast cancer women who are treated with axillary node dissection are at
increased risk for lymphedema - the lifetime risk in these women is estimated at 15-50% and
the risk can significantly increase with chemotherapy and radiation therapy
1. To evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of implementing the integrative therapy
program (ITP) intervention. ITP consists of self-management education in conjunction
2. To determine if ITP affects quality of life, self-efficacy, lymphedema knowledge, pain,
and early detection and management of lymphedema.
Design: the exploratory study aims to evaluate the feasibility and benefits of the
integrative therapy program (ITP) intervention post-operatively for 18 months.
Subjects: Women with breast cancer treated with axillary node dissection with normal
baseline pre-operative bioimpedance (L-dex U400) score.
Sample size: 30 subjects
Recruitment and Intervention:
The study participants are recruited by their breast surgeon after they undergo axillary
node dissection surgery. 4-6 weeks following surgery, the participants will receive a
combination of acupuncture and self management education .
Contents of self-management education include:
1. Lymphedema knowledge: functions of the lymphatic system, anatomy of the lymph nodes and
direction of the lymphatic drainage, risk factors that could precipitate lymphedema,
the signs and symptoms of lymphedema and infection, and lymphedema resources.
2. Selfcare techniques:healthy diet (eating whole food encouraged), neck, shoulder and
chest wall stretching exercises, walk daily, self-manual lymphatic drainage with deep
breathing techniques, and self-acupressure over eighteen months following their
Outcome measurements include: L-Dex U400 measurement, arm circumference, pain scale,
self-efficacy, and lymphedema knowledge, and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast
1. Subjects must be able to read and understand the informed consent form and have the
capacity to give consent.
2. Adults age 18 and older
3. Subject with a newly diagnosed stage I-III breast cancer with a documented
pre-operative baseline L-Dex U400 who underwent axillary lymph node dissection within
4-6 weeks prior to enrollment.
4. Subjects must be able to return to the study site for the duration of the study (18
1. Subjects who do not read or understand the informed consent are ineligible.
2. Subjects who have any contraindications to the affected upper-limb exercises, which
include congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, deep vein thrombosis,
infectious disease complications such as cellulitis and lymphangitis.
3. Women with double mastectomy with axillary node dissection bilaterally.
4. Women with a prior history of axillary surgeries in the ipsilateral side and/or
5. Women with metal implants (e.g. shoulder replacement) or cardiac implants (e.g.
automated implanted cardiac defibrillator (AICD) or pacemaker).
6. All subjects with objective or subjective signs and symptoms of lymphedema.
7. Women of childbearing age who are pregnant.