Please find below presentations to download from the recent Lymphoedema Awareness Day:
Lewis-Manning Hospice offers a specialist outpatient clinic for local people living with lymphoedema. The clinic makes no charges for its services and is mainly funded primarily through donations.
What is lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema is the swelling of a limb due to failure of the lymphatic system. This swelling is sometimes caused by cancer or the treatment of cancer. The most common areas of the body which are affected are in an arm or a leg.
Why does lymphoedema occur?
There are two main functions of the lymphatic system, the first is to maintain the flow of fluid around the body by transporting proteins and waste products from the tissues, and the second relates to the immune system. When there is failure of the lymphatic system excess fluid builds up which causes the swelling. There are two types of lymphoedema: primary lymphoedema, which is usually determined from birth and is often hereditary, and secondary lymphoedema, which is usually caused by damage to or the removal of the lymph nodes as a result of cancer or the treatment of cancer. Secondary lymphoedema can also be caused by an accident or severe infection that has no connection with cancer.
Is there a cure for lymphoedema?
Unfortunately most of the underlying causes of lymphoedema are irreversible and as such, there is currently no known cure. However, appropriate treatment can be implemented to reduce the swelling and keep it to a minimum. This medical treatment can, in most cases, improve quality of life dramatically.
How is lymphoedema treated?
The management of lymphoedema involves the removal of as much excess fluid and proteins as possible and preventing further build up within the tissues. This can be achieved by compression garments, specialised massage techniques, bandaging, exercising and addressing any other contributing factors. The treatment options chosen will depend upon the degree and nature of the swelling as well as the kind of treatment desired by the patient.
What treatment does Lewis-Manning Hospice provide for lymphoedema?
The lymphoedema clinic at Lewis-Manning Hospice provides free treatment and support for patients with secondary lymphoedema due to cancer and / or its treatment.
Referrals to the clinic are accepted from healthcare professionals, general practitioners, consultants and specialist doctors and nurses working with people who have cancer. The clinic runs from 9.30am – 3.30pm, Monday to Friday. Assessment and treatment is carried out by nurses trained and experienced in the management of lymphoedema.
A physiotherapist is available for consultation.
How often are patients seen?
The initial appointment will last around one hour and patients are usually asked to return to be taught simple lymph drainage. Follow-up appointments are usually at one month, three month and six month intervals depending on the needs of the individual.
When patients are confident in their ability to control their lymphoedema they may be discharged form the clinic. The staff are always happy to help should further support be needed in the future.
Support from the clinic
Patients are encouraged to contact staff at any time if problems occur. Close links are maintained with the British Lymphology Society and the Lymphoedema Support Network.
The clinic’s Honorary Consultant is Mr A. I. Skene, Consultant Breast Surgeon, Royal Bournemouth Hospital.