To develop and gain consensus on the core components of clinical recommendations for physical activity in the management and prevention of Breast Cancer related Lymphoedema

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr Julie Wilson  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


To inform the development of evidence-based practice guidelines regarding the management of lymphoedema through physical activity.


1. To identify, appraise and synthesise the evidence to assess the policies/guidelines, practices and experiences of people living with breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL).

2. To explore the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of people living with BCRL in relation to physical activity to manage their symptoms.

3. To identify the knowledge, attitudes and practices of a wide range of interdisciplinary professionals in relation to the management of BCRL.

5. To engage in a series of deliberative expert committees to review evidence and expert testimonies, to inform the development of guideline recommendations.


This study will use a sequential exploratory mixed methods design where each phase will inform the next providing a fuller understanding and to inform future practice (Guest and Fleming 2016; Fetters et al. 2013). It will involve 4 phases.


Phase 1: Objective 1

To undertake a scoping review of the current evidence regarding initiation, type and duration of physical activity interventions for people with breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL).

Phase 2: Objective 2

An online survey, utilising convenience sampling, will be conducted with Individuals living with BCRL throughout the UK, regarding their experience of advice given related to physical activity post breast surgery. 

Phase 3:

 Qualitative interviews and focus groups will be undertaken with a range of professionals from the disciplines of nursing, medicine, physiotherapy and sport, regarding their current practices and knowledge related to the benefits of physical activity post breast surgery in the management of secondary lymphoedema.


Phase 4:

Co-production design will be used to develop evidence-based practice guidelines regarding physical activity for the management of secondary lymphoedema post breast surgery. This will involve deliberative workshops with a range of key stakeholders.

Medicine (26) Nursing & Health (27)


All-Ireland Lymphoedema Guidelines for the diagnosis, assessment and management of Lymphoedema. (2022) The 2022 All-Ireland Guidelines for the diagnosis, assessment and management of lymphoedema | Lymphoedema Network Northern Ireland (LNNI)
Cancer Research UK (2023) last accessed 06.11.23.
Fetters, M.D., Curry L.A., Creswell, J.W. (2013) Achieving Integration in Mixed Methods Designs – Principles and Practices. Health Services Research, 48(6) Part II, 2134-2154
Guest, G. and Fleming, P (2014) Mixed Methods Research. Guest, Gand Namey, E. (eds). Public Health Research Methods, Chapter 19, 581-610. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Hayes, S. C., Johansson, K., Stout, N. L., Prosnitz, R., Armer, J. M., Gabram,S., & Schmitz, K. H. (2012). Upper-body morbidity after breast cancer: Incidence and evidence for evaluation, prevention, and management within a prospective surveillance model of care. Cancer, 118(8 Suppl), 2237–2249.
Rockson, S. G., Keeley, V., Kilbreath, S., Szuba, A., & Towers, A. (2019). Cancer-associated secondary lymphoedema. Nature Reviews. Disease Primers, 5(1), 22. 2-019-0072-5
Shaitelman, S. F., et al (2015). Recent progress in the treatment and prevention of cancer-related lymphedema. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 65(1), 55–81.
Wang et al. (2022). Breast cancer related lymphedema and resistance excerise: An evidence-based review of guidelines, consensus statements and systematic reviews. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 32, 2208-2227.

 About the Project