Data on the effects of The-Optimal-Lymph-Flow program on lymphedema symptoms in breast cancer survivors

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Data in brief






Breast cancer; Lymphatic exercises; Lymphedema; Mobile health; Randomized clinical trial; Symptom management


A substantial proportion of more than 50% of breast cancer survivors, who remain undiagnosed with lymphedema, encounter a daily struggle with the presence of multiple and concomitant lymphedema associated symptoms (i.e., lymphedema symptoms). The-Optimal-Lymph-Flow (TOLF) program was developed based on physiological-cognitive-behavioral principles to educate breast cancer survivors on effective self-care strategies. Physiologically, TOLF program was designed to stimulate lymphatic system to enhance lymph flow, thereby alleviating lymphedema symptoms and mitigating the risk and severity of lymphedema. The dataset presented in this article was obtained from a randomized clinical trial (RCT) that assessed the preventive effects of the TOLF program in improving lymphedema symptom experience and optimizing lymph fluid status among breast cancer survivors who were at higher risk for lymphedema. Between January 2019 and June 2020, a RCT was conducted to recruit 92 eligible participants who were assigned randomly to either the TOLF group (intervention) or the arm mobility group (control). Demographic and clinical data were collected at baseline and updated over the study period. Outcome data were collected at baseline and three months after intervention. Study outcomes included lymphedema symptom experience (i.e., number, severity, distress of lymphedema symptoms, and impact on daily activities) and lymph fluid status. The Breast Cancer and Lymphedema Symptom Experience Index (BCLE-SEI) was utilized to assess lymphedema symptoms and circumferential arm measurement was utilized to estimate limb volume differences (a surrogate for lymph fluid status). The dataset based on the RCT allowed confirmation of positive effects of the TOLF intervention during early postoperative period. The dataset can be further utilized as a benchmark reference in clinical settings or experimental research to determine the effects of optimal lymphatic exercise dosage on lymphedema risk reduction and symptom alleviation as well as provide a basis for future research related to this topic.


Nursing Faculty Publications