Investigation of health professionals’ knowledge about lymphedema after mastectomy

Introduction: Early detection and treatment are the greatest success in the management of lymphedema. Health professionals play an important role in patient education.

Aim: To investigate the level of knowledge of health professionals working in a tertiary hospital on the prevention and treatment of lymphedema.

Material and Method: Quantitative, cross-sectional, descriptive study and correlation study were performed using a suitable measurement tool with a convenience sampling. The study was conducted at a general hospital of Attica, Greece, and the data collection lasted from February 2020 to March 2020. The sample consisted of 74 health profession- als (31.1% doctors, 54.1% nurses, 12.2% physiotherapists) who worked in the surgical and oncology clinics of the hospital. The “Breast Cancer Lymphedema Information and Knowledge Study (BC LINK)” questionnaire was used to assess knowledge which takes a maximum value of 15 and a minimum of -5.

Results: The mean score of the participants’ knowledge about lymphedema was 8.14±2.47. Participants with a master’s / doctoral degree had a significantly higher score compared to participants who were two years of training (p = 0.002) and participants who were university graduates (p=0.015). Physicians had a significantly higher score compared to nurses (p =

0.001). Participants who had 5-10 years of overall experience with oncology patients had a significantly higher score compared to those who had <5 years (p = 0.001). During multiple linear regression, the educational level, specialty, and overall experience of the participants with oncology patients were found to be independently related to the knowledge score. Conclusions: Participants had a moderate level of knowledge about lymph- edema. Educational level, overall experience with oncology patients and specialty are important predictors of knowledge score.