Do you have arm disability after breast cancer treatment?

Natasha Miller, a University of Saskatchewan research assistant, sent us the following message, which we thought might beĀ  interesting for some of you!

Our national study of over 700 breast cancer survivors shows that arm disability, including lymphedema, is not widely understood or acknowledged. As a result, survivors struggle in isolation with pain, fear of infection, and range of motion limitations. Indeed, every part of their lives is affected, from family relationships to work, community involvement, and recreation.

As health researchers, we believe that enhanced diagnostic and treatment protocols can be achieved by improving knowledge transfer to health care providers.

In our CIHR-funded knowledge transfer program, we created a short theatrical production (called an “ethnodrama”) with women living with lymphedema to reach audiences of health care providers and survivors. The ethnodrama, entitled The New Normal: Living With Lymphedema After Breast Cancer/Une nouvelle vie normale: Vivre avec le lymphoedme suite un cancer du sein, is available in both English and French. Composite characters distilled the experience of seven women with arm disability after breast cancer treatment. These ethnodramas were then performed live by some of the women for audiences of health care providers and survivors across Canada with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of self-education, screening and referral patterns.

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