Lymph edema of the arm is a serious consequence of breast carcinoma treatment. Pain, a lack of physical wellbeing and emotional wellbeing and shoulder disabilities are common to occur secondary to the lymph edema. A new intervention is coming up in practices of physical therapists in the Netherlands. This new intervention is called CureTape®.
The objective of this quantitative, prospective cohort study was to identify the influence of regular lymph edema therapy and lymph edema therapy in combination with CureTape® on lymph edema, pain, wellbeing and shoulder activities.
The study was carried out in several practices in the provinces Gelderland and Noord-Brabant. Eight physical therapists participated in this study, they included 33 patients. The primary outcome measure was lymph edema, the secondary outcome measures included pain, wellbeing and shoulder activities. Changes in the volume of both upper limbs were assessed with circumferential measurements, Pain was assessed with the NRS-11 scale, wellness with the SF-36 and shoulder activities with the Shoulder Disability Index. The outcomes were assessed after one, four and eight weeks. 19 patients were treated with regular lymph edema therapy and 14 patients had regular lymph edema therapy in combination with CureTape®.
There was a significant difference in volume measured over eight weeks in the subgroup were regular lymph edema therapy was combined with CureTape®. There was also a significant difference found in the shoulder activities in this group. The subgroup regular lymph edema therapy achieved no significant differences over eight weeks.
CureTape® in combination with regular lymph edema therapy appears to be affective on reducing the volume of lymph edema and improving shoulder activities.