Treating symptoms and improving quality of life
Lymphoedema is oedema (swelling caused by a build-up of fluid) which can occur anywhere in the body but most commonly occurs in arms or legs. It is most frequently caused by disruption of the lymphatic system following cancer surgery, radiation therapy or tumour growth.
Oedema, which is not due to lymphoedema but as a result of other diseases, can also occur in patients.
Lymphoedema is not curable but can be managed, depending on the level of oedema present. In St Francis Hospice, treatment mainly includes the application of compression garments. Depending on the level of lymphoedema or the location of the oedema, some patients receive specialised massage called Manual Lymph Drainage along with compression bandaging.
In most cases, lymphoedema or oedema will continue to worsen if not treated.
Treatments can help to reduce swelling, relieve pain and improve limb mobility. It can improve quality of life for patients.