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09-03-2020 | Uitgave 7/2020 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 7/2020

Effect of lymphedema self-management group-based education compared with social network-based education on quality of life and fear of cancer recurrence in women with breast cancer: a randomized controlled clinical trial

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 7/2020
Zahra Omidi, Masoomeh Kheirkhah, Jamileh Abolghasemi, Shahpar Haghighat
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Breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) and its associated symptoms harm the quality of life (QoL) of cancer survivors and can stimulate fear of cancer recurrence (FCR). Self-management education for lymphedema has been introduced as an effective method in controlling FCR. This study investigates the effect of lymphedema group-based education compared to the social network-based and control group on QoL and FCR in breast cancer patients.


This three-arm clinical trial studied 105 patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema referred to Seyed_Khandan rehabilitation center. Sampling was done by random allocation method in blocks of 3 with 35 subjects in each group. All subjects received routine lymphedema treatments. The group-based education (GE) and social network-based education (SNE) groups received self-management education in the clinic and Telegram™ messenger channel, respectively. Impairment in QoL and mean score of FCR were assessed before, immediately after, and three months after the intervention by using the Persian version of Lymphedema Life Impact Scale (LLIS) and Fear of Progression Questionnaire-Short Form (FoPQ-SF), respectively. Mixed-model ANOVA was applied for statistical analysis.


There was a significant time effect on total LLIS (P = 0.007), psychosocial (P = 0.038) and functional (P = 0.024) subscale changes in three groups of study. Interaction between the main effect of group and time on psychosocial subscale changes was statistically significant (P = 0.017). The multicomparison results illustrated that the main effect of time, the main effect of group, and interaction of them on the mean score of FCR were P = 0.084, P = 0.380, and P = 0.568, respectively.


Despite no significant reduction in the FCR score, results showed the improvement of most QoL aspects after three months of intervention. Although the social network-based education method was effective, the group-based education method was more beneficial. Applying these educational methods in lymphedema treatment protocols needs cost-effectiveness studies.

Trial registration

This study was registered at the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials (IRCT2017052834176N1).

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