J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(4), 341-353; doi:10.3390/jpm5040341 - published 30 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Understanding whether a true change has occurred during the process of care is of utmost importance in lymphedema management secondary to cancer treatments. Decisions about when to order a garment, start an exercise program, and begin or end therapy are based primarily on measurements of limb volume, based on circumferences taken by physiotherapists using a flexible tape. This study aimed to assess intra-rater and inter-rater reliability of measurements taken by physiotherapists of legs and arms with and without lymphedema and to evaluate whether there is a difference in reliability when measuring a healthy versus a lymphedematous limb. The intra-rater reliability of arm and leg measurements by trained physiotherapist is very high (scaled standard error of measurements(SEMs) for an arm and a leg volume were 0.82% and 0.64%, respectively) and a cut-point of 1% scaled SEM may be recommended as a threshold for acceptable reliability. Physiotherapists can rely on the same error when assessing lymphedematous or healthy limbs. For those who work in teams and share patients, practice is needed in synchronizing the measurements and regularly monitoring their inter-rater reliability.
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(3), 326-340; doi:10.3390/jpm5030326 - published 3 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Obesity is one of the risk factors for developing lymphedema following breast cancer treatment. We prospectively enrolled 140 women and followed the participants for 12 months after surgery to investigate patterns of obesity and lymph fluid level in the first year of cancer treatment. Electrical bioimpedance devices were used to measure weight, BMI, and percent of body fat as well as lymph fluid level. General instructions were given to the participants on maintaining pre-surgery weight. Among the 140 participants, 136 completed the study with 2.9% attrition. More than 60% of the participants were obese (30.8%) or overweight (32.4%), while only two participants were underweight and about 35% had normal weight. This pattern of obesity and overweight was consistent at 4–8 weeks and 12 months post-surgery. At 12 months post-surgery, the majority of the women (72.1%) maintained pre-surgery weight and 15.4% had >5% weight loss; 12.5% of the women increase >5% of their weight. Significantly more patients in the obesity group had lymphedema defined by L-Dex ratio >7.1 than those in the normal/underweight and overweight group at pre-surgery and 4–8 weeks post-surgery. There was a trend of more patients in the obesity group had L-Dex ratio >7.1 at 12 months post-surgery. Obesity and overweight remain among women at the time of cancer diagnosis and the patterns of obesity and overweight continue during the first year of treatment. General instructions on having nutrition-balanced and portion-appropriate diet and physical activities daily or weekly can be effective to maintain pre-surgery weight.
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(3), 311-325; doi:10.3390/jpm5030311 - published 25 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The potential impact of breast cancer-related lymphedema (LE) is quite extensive, yet it often remains under-diagnosed until the later stages. This project examines the effectiveness of prospective surveillance in post-surgical breast cancer patients. A retrospective analysis of 49 out of 100 patients enrolled in a longitudinal prospective study at a Midwestern breast center evaluates: (1) time required for completion of bilateral limb measurements and Lymphedema Breast Cancer Questionnaire (LBCQ); (2) referral to LE management with limb volume increase (LVI) and/or LBCQ symptoms; and (3) cost of LE management at lower LVI (≥5%–≤10%) versus traditional (≥10%). Findings revealed a visit timeframe mean of 40.3 min (range = 25–60); 43.6% of visits were ≤30-min timeframe. Visit and measurement times decreased as clinic staff gained measurement experience; measurement time mean was 17.9 min (range = 16.9–18.9). LBCQ symptoms and LVI were significantly (p < 0.001) correlated to LE referral; six of the nine patients referred (67%) displayed both LBCQ symptoms/LVI. Visits with no symptoms reported did not result in referral, demonstrating the importance of using both indicators when assessing early LE. Lower threshold referral provides compelling evidence of potential cost savings over traditional threshold referral with reported costs of: $3755.00 and $6353.00, respectively (40.9% savings).
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(3), 296-310; doi:10.3390/jpm5030296 - published 6 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Breast cancer survivors are at risk of developing a second primary cancer. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading second primary cancers, and it is often preventable. We developed a multi-component educational tool to inform and encourage women breast cancer survivors to engage in CRC screening. To assess the strengths and weakness of the tool and to improve the relevancy to the target audience, we convened four focus groups of women breast cancer survivors in Missouri. We also assessed the potential impact of the tool on the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding CRC and collected information on the barriers to CRC screening through pre- and post-focus groups’ questionnaires. A total of 43 women breast cancer survivors participated and provided very valuable suggestions on design and content to update the tool. Through the process and comparing pre- and post-focus group assessments, a significantly higher proportion of breast cancer survivors strongly agreed or agreed that CRC is preventable (78.6% vs. 96.9%, p = 0.02) and became aware that they were at a slightly increased risk for CRC (18.6% vs. 51.7%, p = 0.003). The most cited barrier was the complexity of preparation for colonoscopy.
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(3), 280-295; doi:10.3390/jpm5030280 - published 3 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer is emotionally and physically challenging. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of death for women in the United States. Accordingly, women with a breast cancer history are the largest group of female cancer survivors. Psychological stress substantially augments adverse autonomic, endocrine, and immune discharge, including enhanced production of proinflammatory cytokines. Importantly, inflammation is a key biological mechanism underlying the symptom cluster of pain, depression, fatigue, and sleep disturbances; there is also good evidence that inflammation contributes to breast cancer recurrence. Stress may exert direct effects on psychological and physiological risk processes. In this review, we take a biobehavioral approach to understanding predictors and mechanisms underlying somatic symptoms in breast cancer survivors.
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(3), 264-279; doi:10.3390/jpm5030264 - published 28 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Background: Achieving high participation of communities representative of all sub-populations is needed in order to ensure broad applicability of biobank study findings. This study aimed to understand potentially mutable attitudes and opinions commonly correlated with biobank participation in order to inform approaches to promote participation in biobanks. Methods: Adults from two University of Maryland (UMD) Faculty Physicians, Inc. outpatient practices were invited to watch a video and complete a survey about a new biobank initiative. We used: Chi-square to assess the relationship between willingness to join the biobank and participant characteristics, other potentially mutable attitudes and opinions, and trust in the UMD. We also used t-test to assess the relationship with trust in medical research. We also prioritize proposed actions to improve attitudes and opinions about joining biobanks according to perceived responsiveness. Results: 169 participants completed the study, 51% of whom indicated a willingness to join the biobank. Willingness to join the biobank was not associated with age, gender, race, or education but was associated with respondent comfort sharing samples and clinical information, concerns related to confidentiality, potential for misuse of information, trust in UMD, and perceived health benefit. In ranked order, potential actions we surveyed that might alleviate some of these concerns include: increase chances to learn more about the biobank, increase opportunities to be updated, striving to put community concerns first, including involving community members as leaders of biobank research, and involving community members in decision making. Conclusions: This study identified several attitudes and opinions that influence decisions to join a biobank, including many concerns that could potentially be addressed by engaging community members. We also demonstrate our method of prioritizing ways to improve attitudes and opinions about joining a biobank according to perceived responsiveness.