© 2015 Buchan et al.; licensee BioMed Central. Background: No tool exists to measure self-efficacy for overcoming lymphedema-related exercise barriers in individuals with cancer-related lymphedema. However, an existing scale measures confidence to overcome general exercise barriers in cancer survivors. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop, validate and assess the reliability of a subscale, to be used in conjunction with the general barriers scale, for determining exercise barriers self-efficacy in individuals facing lymphedema-related exercise barriers. Methods: A lymphedema-specific exercise barriers self-efficacy subscale was developed and validated using a cohort of 106 cancer survivors with cancer-related lymphedema, from Brisbane, Australia. An initial ten-item lymphedema-specific barrier subscale was developed and tested, with participant feedback and principal components analysis results used to guide development of the final version. Validity and test-retest reliability analyses were conducted on the final subscale. Results: The final lymphedema-specific subscale contained five items. Principal components analysis revealed these items loaded highly (>0.75) on a separate factor when tested with a well-established nine-item general barriers scale. The final five-item subscale demonstrated good construct and criterion validity, high internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = 0.93) and test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.67, p < 0.01). Conclusions: A valid and reliable lymphedema-specific subscale has been developed to assess exercise barriers self-efficacy in individuals with cancer-related lymphedema. This scale can be used in conjunction with an existing general exercise barriers scale to enhance exercise adherence in this understudied patient group.