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Press Release: Lymphedema Awareness in Ontario

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Health

Lymphedema is a permanent condition of chronic swelling that is not difficult to treat. Unfortunately, patient access to treatment is limited.

February, 2011---On March 6, 2011, lymphedema therapists, patients, patient advocates and others will observe Lymphedema Awareness Day. While it is known that the condition of lymphedema is under-diagnosed and under-treated, it is very difficult to find statistics on how many patients in Canada suffer with lymphedema. In 2004, the Lymphedema Association of Ontario arrived at an estimate based in part on data from Cancer Care Ontario:

  • Over 63,000 children and adults* live with primary or secondary lymphedema in Ontario.
  • 246,000 Ontario cancer survivors** are at a lifetime risk of developing lymphedema.
  • Currently, Ontario has just over 100 certified lymphedema therapists.
  • <>Some parts of Ontario have little or no access to a certified lymphedema therapist.

* Lymphedema Association of Ontario estimate (2004).
** Based on Cancer Care Ontario data (2004).

At this time, this is the best estimate we have for how many people in Ontario have lymphedema.

Lymphedema is a condition of chronic swelling that affects a limb or other body part due to an accumulation of lymph fluid. You can be born with lymphedema or it can be acquired after a traumatic injury, severe infection or surgical removal of lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are often removed for the staging of cancer, to determine if cancer cells are spreading to the lymph system. In sub-tropical countries lymphedema can be acquired from parasites.

Lymphedema is not curable, but it can be managed through a blend of therapy techniques that do not involve surgery or drugs. This technique is known as Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT). Unfortunately, many physicians are not familiar with CDT, and, as a result, proper treatment is under-prescribed.

If you know a cancer survivor, then you know someone who is at risk for developing lymphedema.  You may be able to help them understand this risk. Please learn more about this condition by following the links provided below, and by talking about what you have learned.

Lymphedema Depot, the importer and distributor of Solaris lymphedema care products in Canada, is helping to promote Lymphedema Awareness Day this year.

To learn more about lymphedema, see the Lymphedema Depot’s page of links, a clickable list of lymphedema resources: http://www.lymphedemadepot.com/links

To learn more about Lymphedema Awareness Day please visit our website at http://www.lymphedemadepot.com and click on the Lymphedema Awareness Day logo.

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