Lymphoedema 4: Research Priorities in Lymphoedema Care

Sitzia & Harlow (2002) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?


In which location was the research priority setting conducted?

Europe - United Kingdom

Why was it conducted at all?

Lymphoedema is increasingly recognized as a common and important side-effect of cancer treatment, affecting at least one in four women treated for breast cancer (Mortimer et al, 1996). Conventionally, the condition has been regarded as an unlikely, unimportant and untreatable side-effect of treatment and, as such, has been neglected both by health professionals and researchers. However, as a result of the efforts of a small number of treatment pioneers in Europe, plus strong campaigning by patient groups, and a growing awareness of the importance of quality of life issues in cancer care, this perception has changed in recent years and today treatment is widely available throughout Western Europe. This rise in awareness and service provision has not been matched by investment in lymphoedema research, and significant uncertainty remains regarding almost every aspect of the condition and its treatment. The evidence base for lymphoedema treatments is generally poor, composed almost entirely by a surplus of descriptive ‘before and after' studies which only demonstrate that almost any intervention is effective in reducing volume in lymphoedematous limbs.

What was the objective?

to identify research priorities in lymphoedema care, as perceived by UK lymphoedema treatment practitioners

What was the outcome?

a ranking list of 5 research questions

How long did the research prioritization take?

No information provided.

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: survey 1: participants were asked about research questions. Step 2: survey 2: list of 9 items identified most frequently in Step 1, participants were asked to select the five most important questions and rank these five

Which stakeholders took part?

Lymphoedema treatment practitioners. Survey 1: 52 participants. Survey 2: 175 participants.

How were stakeholders recruited?

The questionnaire was sent to each British Lymphology Society (BLS) member (N=400) as an insert in the Society's autumn 1999 newsletter, and was also included in each delegate's conference pack for the Society's October 1999 conference (N=195). The second questionnaire was sent to each BLS member (N=400) as an insert in the Society's autumn 2000 newsletter, and was also included in each delegate's conference pack for the Society's 2000 October conference (N=200).

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.