Many breast cancer survivors face long-term post-operative challenges as a result of suffering from breast
cancer related lymphedema (hereafter, lymphedema), which causes abnormal swelling and multiple
distressing and sometimes extremely painful symptoms. These symptoms have been linked to clinically
detrimental outcomes, such as disability and psychological distress, both of which are known risk factors for
breast cancer survivors' poor quality of life. More importantly, lymphedema symptoms may indicate an early
stage of lymphedema that constitutes only minimal changes in objective measures of limb volume. Without
timely intervention in this early disease stage, lymphedema can progress into a chronic condition that no
surgical or medical interventions at present can cure. Yet, current clinical practice largely relies on clinicians'
observation of swelling and current research methods for detecting and assessing lymphedema are
cumbersome and not effective in detecting early stage of lymphedema. Thus, early detection of
lymphedema based on symptoms and early intervention for lymphedema symptom management may play
an important role in reducing the patient's risk for chronic lymphedema. The first primary goal of this project
is to use machine learning to understand the association between symptoms and other relevant personal
and clinical factors and the presence of lymphedema, and develop a web-based self-assessment platform
that enables patients to assess their risk for lymphedema from anywhere. The second goal is to develop a
Kinect-sensor based training system to improve the effectiveness of training for patients to learn and
practice the intervention lymphatic exercises developed by the Pl Fu, which have shown great promise in
reducing the risk of chronic lymphedema by maintaining pre-surgery limb volume, and relieving
lymphedema symptoms. The proposed solutions empower breast cancer survivors to take control of their
progression path of lymphedema, and will be integrated into our current IT-based self-care platform for
lymphedema symptom management and lymphedema risk reduction, which focuses on preventive,
proactive, evidence-based, person-centered approach to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors.
RELEVANCE (See instructions):
Lymphedema, which causes multiple painful symptoms, is a major health problem that affects more than
40% of 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the US. This project will develop a self-assessment platform for .
early detection of lymphedema and a Kinect-based exercise training system to enhance early intervention.
The project has the potential to relieve lymphedema symptoms and reduce the risk for chronic lymphedema.
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