Before we talk about techniques to prevent lymphedema, it’s important to look at the lymphatic system, a network of vessels that runs throughout your body to remove waste from your system. Waste products are collected in the form of lymphatic fluid by lymphatic vessels that connect to lymph nodes and empty into blood vessels to be removed from your body.
When lymph nodes are damaged, the system can become disrupted, causing the lymphatic fluid to build up. This condition, called lymphedema, can lead to painful and sometimes debilitating swelling, as well as infections and hospitalizations.
For Lymphedema Awareness Month, join millions of patients and healthcare professionals in recognizing and advocating for the improvement of patient care and access for those at risk or suffering from lymphedema.
Here are 5-ways to get involved.
Educate yourself on risk factors, treatment, and prevention.
Cancer-related lymphedema is one of the most feared consequences of cancer treatment among patients. When lymph nodes are damaged, the system can become disrupted, causing the lymphatic fluid to build up. This condition, called lymphedema, can lead to painful and sometimes debilitating swelling, as well as infections and hospitalizations. Make sure you understand these risk factors and start taking a proactive stance against lymphedema in your treatment plan.
Talk to your physician about risk factors, treatment, and prevention.
Incidence rates of lymphedema among cancer survivors can range from 6-50%, depending on your cancer treatment1. Discuss with your doctor lymphedema risk factors associated with your treatment, so together, you can take the appropriate measures to avoid progression of chronic, secondary lymphedema. Download resource materials to bring to your next appointment.
Find a provider and get your L-Dex® score early and often.
Advances in science and technology have made it possible for healthcare professionals to monitor patients at risk for secondary lymphedema. To learn more about what institutions in your local area are offering proactive monitoring, visit our provider page.
Support the Lymphedema Treatment Act
Lymphedema Awareness Month is a great opportunity to drive legislative change to improve access to medically necessary and doctor prescribed treatment including compression garments. Learn more about this important federal bill and get involved!
Organizations like LE&RN and the LIVE Today Foundation aim to advocate for and educate cancer patients and survivors on lymphedema detection and treatment. Visit these organizations to learn more about how you can get involved.