Date of Award

Spring 4-16-2024

Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


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Faculty Mentor

Allison Naber


breast cancer, breast cancer-related lymphedema, lymphedema surveillance, quality of life, well-being

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


With breast cancer being one of the most common cancers in women globally and treatments being one of the greatest risk factors for secondary lymphedema (Eaton et al., 2020; He et al., 2023; Jørgensen et al., 2021), it is essential to understand how a breast cancer diagnosis and treatments affect an individual’s quality of life (QoL) and well-being. This capstone project aimed to gain in-depth clinical skills in lymphedema care, specifically in breast-care related lymphedema (BCRL), and educate on the psychosocial needs of the breast cancer population, with an emphasis on how being at risk for or diagnosed with BCRL affects a person’s QoL and well-being. To guide this capstone project, the Biomechanical Frame of Reference (McMillan, 2011) and the Environment-Health-Occupation-Well-being (E-HOW) Model (Pizzi & Richards, 2017) were utilized. Bioimpedance spectroscopy was an assessment tool utilized for all patients who were at risk for developing BCRL. The Pizzi Health and Wellness Assessment (PHWA) was used to assess the patient’s self-perceptions of their health. The PHWA is a six-item self-report assessment and uses a Likert rating scale to assess how individuals perceive different areas of their health and well-being (Pizzi & Damiao, 2022). Open-ended questions were also used to promote reflection of their ratings. Bioimpedance spectroscopy allowed for early detection and treatment for BCRL, which resulted in the reversal of symptoms or slowed progression of lymphedema. As a group, breast cancer patients demonstrated good health and were at moderate risk for health issues (M = 45.95, SD = 9.41) as indicated by the PHWA (Pizzi, 2018). The outcomes of this capstone have implications for occupational therapy as a person’s overall health can influence their occupational participation, thus affecting their QoL and well-being.