Is surviving enough? Coping and impact on activities of daily living among melanoma patients with lymphoedema

K. D. Cromwell, Y. J. Chiang, J. Armer, P. P. Heppner, K. Mungovan, M. I. Ross, J. E. Gershenwald, J. E. Lee, R. E. Royal, A. Lucci, J. N. Cormier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


We assessed the impact of lymphoedema (defined as ≥10% limb volume change) on quality of life (QOL), ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) and coping in 277 melanoma patients. Limb volume was measured prospectively, pre-operatively and every 3-6 months for 18 months post-operatively using a perometer. Three questionnaires were administered to measure QOL, coping and impact on ADLs. Statistical analyses were conducted using longitudinal logistic regression models. At 18 months, the cumulative incidence of lymphoedema was 31% in patients with upper extremity nodal basin treatment and 40% in lower extremity nodal basin treatment patients. Patients with lower extremity lymphoedema reported lower QOL scores than those with upper extremity lymphoedema. Over 18 months, both groups with mild and moderate lymphoedema showed improvement in coping [odds ratio (OR): 6.67, 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.30-13.47] and performance of ADLs (OR: 7.46, CI: 3.38-16.47). Over the course of 18 months, men were found to have poorer coping scores than women (OR: 2.91, CI: 1.35-6.27). Lymphoedema was associated with improvement in coping over time (P = 0.08) and a higher reported interference with ADLs (OR: 2.53, CI: 1.29-4.97). Patient education about lymphoedema at the time of surgical consent may improve self-efficacy and coping ability. Effective management of lymphoedema may improve patient QOL and reduce interference with ADLs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)724-733
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean journal of cancer care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015



  • Coping skills
  • Lymphatic disorders
  • Melanoma
  • Patient outcome assessment
  • Quality of life
  • Self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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