Lymphodema cannot be cured but it can be reduced and managed with appropriate intervention. For people who develop lymphodema after a cancer diagnosis, a life threatening illness is replaced with a life-long distressing and debilitating condition.
Lymphodema Awareness month aims to increase awareness about this often forgotten condition. We have a long way to go to improve screening, early detection and access to lymphodema management services for those affected my this condition so lets get talking about this important issue!
A simple explanation of Lymphoedema
Lymphoedema is the accumulation of excessive amounts of protein-rich fluid resulting in swelling of one or more regions of the body.
Lymphoedema may arise because the lymphatic vessels or nodes have been damaged or were not formed correctly.
Secondary lymphoedema is the most common type developing following damage to the lymphatic system. The damage may occur as a result of some cancer treatments including the removal of lymph nodes, following radiotherapy to lymph node groups or with the progression of malignant disease. The onset of lymphoedema may be at any time. It may occur within months of the damage or it may appear years later.