Mei R Fu

CUNY Graduate Center, New York City, New York, United States

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Publications (31)43.58 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purposes of this study were (a) to evaluate self-care, symptom burden, and reported infections among individuals with lower-extremity primary lymphedema; (b) to examine the differences in self-care, symptom burden, and reported infections between individuals with unilateral and those with bilateral lower-extremity primary lymphedema; and (c) to examine the associations among self-care status, symptom burden, and reported infections in individuals with lower-extremity primary lymphedema. A secondary data analysis was used. Data were collected from a cross-sectional survey study supported by the National Lymphedema Network from March 2006 through January 2010. The surveys were available both online and in hard copy in order to increase accessibility. Descriptive statistics were conducted and associations between variables were assessed using Mann-Whitney tests and chi-square tests of independence. Multiple logistic regression was used to test for associations while controlling for potentially confounding variables. A total of 803 participants reported having lower-extremity primary lymphedema. The majority of the participants were female (82.9%), White (74.2%), and from the United States (90.7%). Approximately two thirds of the respondents conducted some home daily lymphedema self-care. Over half of the respondents reported experiencing symptom burden and 44.8% reported at least one episode of infection. Compared to individuals with unilateral lower-extremity primary lymphedema, individuals with bilateral lower-extremity lymphedema were more likely to conduct skin care (p = .004), use alternative medications (p = .005), more frequently reported symptoms (p < .05), and more likely to report at least one episode of infection (p = .002). Respondents who reported use of compression garments also were less likely to have self-reported pain (p = .002), poor range of motion (p = .026), and numbness (p = .001). Participants who reported exercising also were less likely to have self-reported pain (p = .003). Participants who reported at least one episode of infection also reported experiencing more symptoms (p < .001). Individuals with lower-extremity primary lymphedema experienced substantial symptom burden and infection episodes. Significant associations were identified among self-care, symptom burden, and reported infections. The findings support the need for clinicians to educate patients with lower-extremity primary lymphedema regarding the importance of self-care, symptom management, and infection control. It is critically important for clinicians to evaluate symptom burden and reduce infections in individuals with lower-extremity primary lymphedema. © 2014 Sigma Theta Tau International.
    Journal of Nursing Scholarship 12/2014; · 1.61 Impact Factor
  • Mei R Fu, Jie Deng, Jane M Armer
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer-related lymphedema is a progressive and chronic syndrome of abnormal swelling and multiple symptoms resulting from cancer treatment. Even with modern medical advances, lymphedema remains a major health problem affecting thousands of cancer survivors. To provide healthcare professionals with evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for lymphedema treatment and management, a systematic review was conducted to evaluate 75 selected articles from 2009-2014 by the Oncology Nursing Society Putting Evidence Into Practice lymphedema team. Findings of the systematic review support complete decongestive therapy, compression bandages, and compression garments with highest evidence for best clinical practice. Weight management, full-body exercise, information provision, prevention, and early intervention protocols are likely to be effective for clinical practice. Historic recommendations for activity restriction and avoidance of aerobic and resistive exercises that limit cancer survivors' daily lives have been challenged with more evidence. Cancer survivors may not need to restrict activities such as resistive or aerobic exercises and weightlifting with gradual exercise progression. Future research should focus on providing high-level evidence using randomized clinical trials with larger samples and studying lymphedema beyond breast cancer.
    Clinical journal of oncology nursing 12/2014; 18:68-79. · 0.95 Impact Factor
  • Mei R Fu
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    ABSTRACT: The global burden of breast cancer continues to increase largely because of the aging and growth of the world population. More than 1.38 million women worldwide were estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, accounting for 23% of all diagnosed cancers in women. Given that the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer is now 90%, experiencing breast cancer is ultimately about quality of life. Women treated for breast cancer are facing a life-time risk of developing lymphedema, a chronic condition that occurs in up to 40% of this population and negatively affects breast cancer survivors' quality of life. This review offers an insightful understanding of the condition by providing clinically relevant and evidence based knowledge regarding lymphedema symptoms, diagnosis, risk reduction, and management with the intent to inform health care professionals so that they might be better equipped to care for patients.
    World journal of clinical oncology. 08/2014; 5(3):241-247.
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    ABSTRACT: PurposeThis study aimed to examine factors associated with reported infection and symptoms among individuals with extremity lymphedema.DesignA cross-sectional study was used.Methods Data were collected from a survey supported by the National Lymphedema Network from March 2006 through January 2010. A total of 1837 participants reported having extremity lymphedema. Logistic regression analyses were used.FindingsFactors associated with reported infection among individuals with extremity lymphedema included male gender, decreased annual household income, decreased self-care, self-report of heaviness, and lower extremity as opposed to upper extremity. Factors associated with symptoms included infection, decreased self-care, lower knowledge level of self-care, decreased annual household income, and presence of secondary lower extremity lymphedema.Conclusions/Clinical RelevanceSelect factors of income, self-care status, and site of lymphedema were associated with increased occurrence of infection and symptoms among individuals with extremity lymphedema. Longitudinal studies are needed to identify risk factors contributing to infections and symptoms in individuals with lymphedema.
    Rehabilitation Nursing. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Advances in cancer treatments continue to reduce the incidence of lymphedema. Yet, many breast cancer survivors still face long-term postoperative challenges as a result of developing lymphedema. The purpose of this study was to preliminarily evaluate The Optimal Lymph Flow program, a patient-centered education and behavioral program focusing on self-care strategies to enhance lymphedema risk reduction by promoting lymph flow and optimize body mass index (BMI). A prospective, longitudinal, quasi-experimental design with repeated-measures was used. The study outcomes included lymph volume changes by infrared perometer, and BMI by a bioimpedance device at pre-surgery baseline, 2-4 weeks after surgery, 6-month and 12-month follow-up. A total of 140 patients were recruited and participated in The Optimal Lymph Flow program; 134 patients completed the study with 4 % attrition rate. Fifty-eight percent of patients had axillary node dissection and 42 % had sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB). The majority (97 %) of patients maintained and improved their preoperative limb volume (LV) and BMI at the study endpoint of 12 months following cancer surgery. Cumulatively, two patients with SLNB and two patients with axillary lymph node dissection had measurable lymphedema (>10 % LV change). At the 12-month follow-up, among the four patients with measurable lymphedema, two patients' LV returned to preoperative level without compression therapy but by maintaining The Optimal Lymph Flow exercises to promote daily lymph flow. This educational and behavioral program is effective in enhancing lymphedema risk reduction. The study provided initial evidence for emerging change in lymphedema care from treatment-focus to proactive risk reduction.
    Annals of Surgical Oncology 05/2014; · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Currently, a limited number of studies have been conducted that examine sources of information and knowledge level in individuals with lymphedema. This study aimed (1) to examine self-reported information sources and perceived lymphedema knowledge among individuals with lymphedema; and (2) to examine differences in self-reported information sources and perceived lymphedema knowledge among individuals with primary or secondary lymphedema; and with upper or lower extremity lymphedema. The National Lymphedema Network (NLN) conducted a survey to collect self-report data from March 2006 to January 2010. Overall, participants preferred a variety of sources of information. Participants reported low levels of knowledge about the types of lymphedema, treatment approaches and methods, and self-administrated therapies. In comparison to participants with secondary or upper extremity lymphedema, participants with primary or lower extremity lymphedema reported lower knowledge level regarding causes of lymphedema, risks for and complications of lymphedema, treatment approaches and methods for lymphedema, and self-administered therapies. Opportunities exist to expand lymphedema information sources. Healthcare professionals should focus on delivering high quality information about treatment and self-care management to individuals with lymphedema.
    Lymphology. 12/2013; 46(4):173-83.
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    ABSTRACT: Advances in bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) permit the assessment of lymphedema by directly measuring lymph fluid changes. The objective of the study was to examine the reliability, sensitivity, and specificity of cross-sectional assessment of BIA in detecting lymphedema in a large metropolitan clinical setting. BIA was used to measure lymph fluid changes. Limb volume by sequential circumferential tape measurement was used to validate the presence of lymphedema. Data were collected from 250 women, including healthy female adults, breast cancer survivors with lymphedema, and those at risk for lymphedema. Reliability, sensitivity, specificity and area under the ROC curve were estimated. BIA ratio, as indicated by L-Dex ratio, was highly reliable among healthy women (ICC=0.99; 95% CI = 0.99 - 0.99), survivors at-risk for lymphedema (ICC=0.99; 95% CI = 0.99 - 0.99), and all women (ICC=0.85; 95% CI = 0.81 - 0.87); reliability was acceptable for survivors with lymphedema (ICC=0.69; 95% CI = 0.54 to 0.80). The L-Dex ratio with a diagnostic cutoff of >+7.1 discriminated between at-risk breast cancer survivors and those with lymphedema with 80% sensitivity and 90% specificity (AUC=0.86). BIA ratio was significantly correlated with limb volume by sequential circumferential tape measurement. Cross-sectional assessment of BIA may have a role in clinical practice by adding confidence in detecting lymphedema. It is important to note that using a cutoff of L-Dex ratio >+7.1 still misses 20% of true lymphedema cases, it is important for clinicians to integrate other assessment methods (such as self-report, clinical observation, or perometry) to ensure the accurate detection of lymphedema.
    Lymphology 06/2013; 46(2):85-96. · 0.88 Impact Factor
  • Mei R Fu, Yang Kang
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    ABSTRACT: To summarize the evidence of and identify factors influencing the psychosocial impact of lymphedema, as well as to discuss nursing strategies. Peer-reviewed publications from 2004 to 2011 in 11 major medical indices. Poorer overall health-related quality of life was reported among cancer survivors with lymphedema. The consistent, detailed, and vivid descriptions from the qualitative studies suggest that cancer-related lymphedema exerts tremendous negative psychosocial impact, which quantitative studies failed to capture. Nursing strategies include helping patients to build a routine for daily care, setting goals, exercise, positive self-talk, providing helpful resources, and organizing support groups. Professional organizations should devote resources to public education through television advertisement, public meetings, and online education.
    Seminars in Oncology Nursing 02/2013; 29(1):50-60.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Symptom assessment and management are vital aspects of patient care through the entire illness trajectory. Patients often experience two or more symptoms concurrently. Building global assessment capacity on symptoms holds significant promise for advancing the science of nursing. The Symptom Experience Index is a reliable and valid patient-centered health outcome measure developed in the United States to assess multiple symptoms and distress. No Korean version is available for Korean healthcare professionals and patients to promote an accurate assessment of multiple symptoms. OBJECTIVE: To translate the Symptom Experience Index into Korean language and assess its psychometric properties in Korean patients and healthy adults. DESIGN: A psychometric study with a cross-sectional design. SETTING: Two hospitals and a large university in Seoul, Korea in 2009. PARTICIPANTS: A purposive sample of 230 adult participants, including medical-surgical and oncology patients, as well as healthy university students. METHODS: The English Symptom Experience Index was translated to Korean language using an integrative translation method to ensure its semantic equivalence and content validity. The Korean version was then pretested and tested using a contrast-group and test-retest method. RESULTS: Semantically, no modifications to items were needed in terms of comparability of language and similarity of interpretability. Feedback on the pretest of the Korean version by 15 Korean adult patients resulted in one item deletion and one item modification. The Korean version demonstrated high internal consistency with the Cronbach's alpha coefficient: total symptom experience of 0.92, occurrence of 0.91 and distress of 0.90. Intra-class correlation coefficients demonstrated strong stability over time: total symptom experience (ICC=0.82; 95% CI=0.73-0.88), occurrence (ICC=0.77; 95% CI=0.66-0.84), and distress (ICC=0.85; 95% CI=0.77-0.89). Construct validity was supported by (1) factor analysis; (2) differences in symptom experience scores between healthy university students and patient groups; and (3) positive correlations between symptom experience scores and functional impairment. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provided evidence to support psychometric properties of the Korean Symptom Experience Index. The use of the instrument can help patients who speak Korean language systematically report symptoms and assist healthcare professionals in assessing multiple symptom experience.
    International journal of nursing studies 01/2013; · 1.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: This systematic review aimed to evaluate the level of evidence of contemporary peer-reviewed literature published from 2004 to 2011 on the psychosocial impact of lymphedema. METHODS: Eleven electronic databases were searched and 1311 articles retrieved; 23 met inclusion criteria. Twelve articles utilized qualitative methodology and 11 used quantitative methodology. An established quality assessment tool was used to assess the quality of the included studies. RESULTS: The overall quality of the 23 included studies was adequate. A critical limitation of current literature is the lack of conceptual or operational definitions for the concept of psychosocial impact. Quantitative studies showed statistically significant poorer social well-being in persons with lymphedema, including perceptions related to body image, appearance, sexuality, and social barriers. No statistically significant differences were found between persons with and without lymphedema in the domains of emotional well-being (happy or sad) and psychological distress (depression and anxiety). All 12 of the qualitative studies consistently described negative psychological impact (negative self-identity, emotional disturbance, and psychological distress) and negative social impact (marginalization, financial burden, perceived diminished sexuality, social isolation, perceived social abandonment, public insensitivity, and non-supportive work environment). Factors associated with psychosocial impact were also identified. CONCLUSIONS: Lymphedema has a negative psychosocial impact on affected individuals. The current review sheds light on the conceptualization and operationalization of the definitions of psychosocial impact with respect to lymphedema. Development of a lymphedema-specific instrument is needed to better characterize the impact of lymphedema and to examine the factors contributing to these outcomes in cancer and non-cancer-related populations. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Psycho-Oncology 10/2012; 22(7). · 4.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Currently, there is a lack of data related to differences in symptoms and infection across different types and anatomical sites of lymphedema. The objective of this study was to examine differences in symptoms and infection status among individuals with lymphedema of the upper or lower extremities. The National Lymphedema Network initiated an online survey of self-report lymphedema data from March 2006 through January 2010. Descriptive statistics, Mann-Whitney tests, and Chi-square tests were used to analyze data. 723 individuals with upper extremity lymphedema and 1114 individuals with lower extremity lymphedema completed the survey. Individuals with extremity lymphedema experienced high symptom burden and infectious complications. Compared with individuals with upper extremity lymphedema, individuals with lower extremity lymphedema experienced more frequent and more severe symptoms (p<.001), infection episodes (p<.001), and infection-related hospitalizations (p<.001). No statistically significant differences of symptom burden and infection status were identified between individuals with lower extremity primary and secondary lymphedema. Individuals with extremity lymphedema experience substantial symptom burden and infectious complications; however, those with lower extremity lymphedema have more severe symptoms and more infections than those with upper extremity lymphedema.
    Lymphology 09/2012; 45(3):113-23. · 0.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lymphedema, a debilitating and chronic condition, is considered to be one of the most distressing adverse effects of cancer treatment. The purpose of this study was to understand the practice patterns in lymphedema care and identify predictors influencing those patterns among oncology nurses, with a focus on advanced practice nurses. Random and purposive sampling was utilized to recruit 238 oncology nurses who completed the Web-based study. Participants included advanced practice nurses (nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists), nurse navigators/case managers, staff nurses, and directors/managers/coordinators. Data focused on perceived knowledge of and perceived competence in risk reduction, treatment, and self-management of lymphedema and practice patterns in lymphedema care. Actual knowledge of lymphedema care was evaluated. Descriptive, comparative, and regression analyses were performed. The study showed that perceived knowledge and perceived competence were highly correlated. Perceived competence was a predictor of practicing lymphedema care. Advanced practice nurses scored in the midrange for perceived knowledge and perceived competence in risk reduction and self-management, but obtained lower scores in perceived knowledge and perceived competence for treatment. The odds of advanced practice nurses delivering lymphedema care were less than those of staff nurses. This study identifies gaps and opportunities for advanced practice nurses to play an important role in providing lymphedema care, an essential aspect of cancer survivorship.
    Journal of the advanced practitioner in oncology. 09/2012; 3(5):307-18.
    This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched format
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about the effectiveness of activities used to self-manage lymphedema. The aim of this study was to evaluate the level of evidence of peer-reviewed lymphedema self-care literature published from January 2004 to May 2011. Eleven major medical databases were searched. Articles were selected for inclusion or exclusion into the category of self-management of lymphedema by topic experts. The definition of self-management included activities that individuals initiate and perform for themselves without the assistance of others. Articles were scored according to the Oncology Nursing Society's Putting Evidence Into Practice levels of evidence. Sixteen articles met criteria for inclusion in this review, with self-management as the independent variable. Ten categories of self-management were established subsequently and articles were classified by levels of evidence. In these categories, no self-management studies were rated as "recommended for practice," 2 studies were rated "likely to be effective," none was rated "benefits balanced with harms," 7 were rated "effectiveness not established," and 1 was rated "effectiveness unlikely." Few studies included measures of outcomes associated with lymphedema, and there was a scarcity of randomized controlled trials in lymphedema self-management. A demonstrated need exists for the design and testing of self-management interventions that include appropriate outcome measures.
    Nursing research 05/2012; 61(4):291-9. · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    M. Elise Radina, Mei R. Fu
    Novel Strategies in Lymphedema, 01/2012; , ISBN: 978-953-307-929-5
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    ABSTRACT: It has been speculated that symptomatic seroma, or seroma requiring needle aspiration, is one of the risk factors for lymphedema symptoms following breast cancer treatment. These symptoms exert tremendous impact on patients' quality of life and include arm swelling, chest/breast swelling, heaviness, tightness, firmness, pain, numbness, stiffness, or impaired limb mobility. Our aim was to explore if symptomatic seroma affects lymphedema symptoms following breast cancer treatment. Data were collected from 130 patients using a Demographic and Medical Information interview tool, Lymphedema and Breast Cancer Questionnaire, and review of medical record. Arm swelling was verified by Sequential Circumferential Arm Measurements and Bioelectrical Impedance Spectroscopy. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, Chi-squared tests, regression, exploratory factor analysis and exploratory structural equation modeling. Thirty-five patients (27%) developed symptomatic seroma. Locations of seroma included axilla, breast, and upper chest. Significantly, more women with seroma experienced more lymphedema symptoms. A well-fit exploratory structural equation model [X2(79) = 92.15, p = 0.148; CFI = 0.97; TLI = 0.96] revealed a significant unique effect of seroma on lymphedema symptoms of arm swelling, chest/breast swelling, tenderness, and blistering (beta = 0.48, p < 0.01). Patients who developed symptomatic seroma had 7.78 and 10.64 times the odds of developing arm swelling and chest/breast swelling versus those who did not, respectively (p < 0.001). Symptomatic seroma is associated with increased risk of developing lymphedema symptoms following breast cancer treatment. Patients who develop symptomatic seroma should be considered at higher risk for lymphedema symptoms and receive lymphedema risk reduction interventions.
    Lymphology 09/2011; 44(3):134-43. · 0.88 Impact Factor
  • Mei R. Fu, Eunjung Ryu
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    ABSTRACT: Aims: Symptom assessment and management are vital aspects of patients care through the entire illness trajectory. Accurate measurement of multiple symptoms for obtaining definitive data, understanding, planning, and implementing quality patient care is needed for Korean healthcare providers and patients. The Symptom Experience Index (SEI) is a valid, reliable, research-based instrument developed in the US, assessing 20 symptom occurrence and the distress (emotional response) to the symptom occurrence. The aim of the study is to assess reliability and validity of a Korean version of the SEI (SEI-K). Methods: An integrative translation method was used to translate SEI from English to Korean language. A contrasted-group and test-retest method was employed with a sample of 230 Korean adult participants in Seoul, Korea in 2009. Descriptive statistics, Cronbach’s coefficient alpha, intra-class correlation coefficients, and a multitrait scaling analysis, chi-square, and t-tests were performed. Results: The SEI-K demonstrated adequate internal consistency with a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.924 for symptom experience, 0.911 for symptom occurrence, and 0.90 for symptom distress. Test-retest reliability was supported by high significant intra-class correlation coefficients. Construct validity was supported by statistically significant differences between patient and well adult groups. Discriminant validity was confirmed by comparing the SEI-K scores in participants having different function status. Conclusions: The SEI-K is a reliable and valid instrument for assessing multiple symptom experience in Korean population. Findings of the study have the potential for the development of a scientific database for international collaborative research that may improve patients’ quality of life.
    CANS 2010 State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research; 09/2010
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    ABSTRACT: Despite recent advances in breast cancer treatment, breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL) continues to be a significant problem for many survivors. Some BCRL risk factors may be largely unavoidable, such as mastectomy, axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), or radiation therapy. Potentially avoidable risk factors unrelated to breast cancer treatment include minor upper extremity infections, injury or trauma to the arm, overuse of the limb, and air travel. This study investigates how providing information about BCRL affects the cognitive and symptomatic outcome of breast cancer survivors. Data were collected from 136 breast cancer survivors using a Demographic and Medical Information interview instrument, a Lymphedema Education Status interview instrument, a Knowledge Test for cognitive outcome, and the Lymphedema and Breast Cancer Questionnaire for symptom outcome. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, t tests, chi-square (chi(2)) tests, and regression. BCRL information was given to 57% of subjects during treatment. The mean number of lymphedema-related symptoms was 3 symptoms. Patients who received information reported significantly fewer symptoms and scored significantly higher in the knowledge test. After controlling for confounding factors, patient education remains an additional predictor of BCRL outcome. Significantly fewer women who received information about BCRL reported swelling, heaviness, impaired shoulder mobility, seroma formation, and breast swelling. Breast cancer survivors who received information about BCRL had significantly reduced symptoms and increased knowledge about BCRL. In clinical practice, breast cancer survivors should be engaged in supportive dialogues so they can be educated about ways to reduce their risk of developing BCRL.
    Annals of Surgical Oncology 02/2010; 17(7):1847-53. · 3.94 Impact Factor
  • Mary Rosedale, Mei R Fu
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    ABSTRACT: To describe women's unexpected and distressing symptom experiences after breast cancer treatment. Qualitative and descriptive.Setting: Depending upon their preference, participants were interviewed in their homes or in a private office space in a nearby library. Purposive sample of 13 women 1-18 years after breast cancer treatment. Secondary analysis of phenomenologic data (constant comparative method). Breast cancer symptom distress, ongoing symptoms, and unexpected experiences. Women described experiences of unexpected and distressing symptoms in the years following breast cancer treatment. Symptoms included pain, loss of energy, impaired limb movement, cognitive disturbance, changed sexual experience, and lymphedema. Four central themes were derived: living with lingering symptoms, confronting unexpected situations, losing precancer being, and feeling like a has-been. Distress intensified when women expected symptoms to disappear but symptoms persisted instead. Increased distress also was associated with sudden and unexpected situations or when symptoms elicited feelings of loss about precancer being and feelings of being a has been. Findings suggest that symptom distress has temporal, situational, and attributive dimensions. Breast cancer survivors' perceptions of ongoing and unexpected symptoms have important influences on quality of life. Understanding temporal, situational, and attributive dimensions of symptom distress empowers nurses and healthcare professionals to help breast cancer survivors prepare for subsequent ongoing or unexpected experiences in the years after breast cancer treatment. Follow-up care for breast cancer survivors should foster dialogue about ways that symptoms might emerge and that unexpected situations might occur. Prospective studies are needed to examine symptom distress in terms of temporal, situational, and attributive dimensions and explore the relationship between symptom distress and psychological distress after breast cancer treatment.
    Oncology Nursing Forum 01/2010; 37(1):E28-33. · 1.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common malignancy worldwide, causing about 1 million deaths annually. Patients with HCC usually reported multiple concurrent symptoms. The purpose of this multivariate study was to explore whether multiple concurrent symptoms are clustered into groups of symptoms and to explore the effect of symptom clusters on the quality of life (QOL) in patients with HCC. A sample of 180 patients with HCC at a medical center in Korea was recruited. Patients completed a demographic questionnaire, a Symptom Checklist, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Hepatobiliary. Factor analysis was used to identify symptom clusters based on the severity of patients' symptom experiences. Four symptom clusters were identified: pain-appetite, fatigue related, gastrointestinal, and itching-constipation. Two patient subgroups were identified through cluster analysis: high- and low-symptom group. Patients in the high-symptom group had significantly poorer functional status and poorer QOL in all the domains, with the exception of social well-being. The differences between the 2 patient subgroups were not only statistically but also clinically significant. Patients in the high-symptom group were also statistically and clinically anxious and depressed. Further research is needed to explore whether compositions of symptom cluster phenotypes vary over time and whether the associations of symptom clusters with QOL and mood are changing along the disease and treatment trajectory as well as symptom status.
    Cancer nursing 11/2009; 33(1):3-10. · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    Mei Rosemary Fu, Mary Rosedale
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    ABSTRACT: As a serious chronic condition from breast cancer treatment, lymphedema or a syndrome of persistent swelling and symptoms is caused by chronic accumulation of lymph fluid in the interstitial spaces of the affected limb or surrounding areas. Although significant prevalence of ongoing multiple symptoms has been reported, little is known about how survivors with lymphedema perceive and respond to lymphedema-related symptoms in their daily lives. The purpose of this study was to explore and describe breast cancer survivors' lymphedema-related symptom experiences. This study used a descriptive phenomenological method. Thirty-four participants were recruited in the United States. Three in-depth interviews were conducted with each participant; a total of 102 interviews were completed, audio taped, and transcribed. Interview transcripts and field notes were the data sources for this analysis, which was part of three larger studies. Data were analyzed to identify the essential themes within and across cases. Four essential themes were revealed: living with perpetual discomfort, confronting the unexpected, losing pre-lymphedema being, and feeling handicapped. Participants experienced multiple symptoms on a daily basis. Distress was heightened when women expected symptoms to disappear, but instead, they remained as a "perpetual discomfort." Moreover, distress was intensified when symptoms evoked unexpected situations or when symptoms elicited emotional responses powerful enough to change perceived personal identity. Findings suggest that symptom distress may encompass temporal, situational, and attributive dimensions. Prospective studies are needed to examine lymphedema-related symptom distress in terms of these dimensions so that more specific interventions can be developed to target distress occurring in each dimension.
    Journal of pain and symptom management 10/2009; 38(6):849-59. · 2.42 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

308 Citations
43.58 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004–2014
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2012
    • New York University College of Dentistry
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2005–2011
    • New York University
      • College of Nursing
      New York City, NY, United States
  • 2009
    • NYU Langone Medical Center
      New York, New York, United States
    • City University of New York - York College
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2002–2005
    • University of Missouri
      • Sinclair School of Nursing
      Columbia, MO, United States