Every year, some half a million Americans undergo cancer treatments that require the removal or destruction of lymph nodes. Approximately one in five of these patients--more than 100,000 people--will develop lymphedema (swelling), a chronic and incurable complication that will change their lives forever.
New York, NY (PRWEB) April 26, 2007
According to Cure Magazine, "Every year, some half a million Americans undergo cancer treatments that require the removal or destruction of lymph nodes. Approximately one in five of these patients--more than 100,000 people--will develop lymphedema (swelling), a chronic and incurable complication that will change their lives forever."
Lymphedema after breast cancer may not only occur due to a mastectomy, but also can appear if the patient had a lumpectomy, radiation, or any lymph nodes removed or damaged during a procedure. Lymphedema can occur at any time after surgery. If lymphedema should start to develop, the sooner treatment is sought, the better it can be managed. Lymph nodes filter lymph, a colorless fluid which forms in the body and drains into the blood and lymph nodes. The lymph nodes trap bacteria and infection and are an important part of the body's defense against infection. When some lymph nodes have been removed the remaining lymph nodes can become overloaded causing swelling. This is known as lymphedema. Lymphedema has several other commonly recognized spellings such as lymphedema, lymphoedema, lymphadema, or lymph edema.
Lymphedema symptoms may consist of swelling, heaviness or tightness of the extremity, feelings of discomfort or a chronic aching in the extremities or shoulder. Swelling and "odd sensations" soon after surgery are typically not Lymphedema. After surgery, it is normal to have some numbness of the armpit, upper arm and the breast or chest wall. As the nerves begin to repair, it is also normal to experience a number of odd and uncomfortable sensations such as tingling or the feeling the skin has been grazed or burned.
Lymphedema may also often occur in the legs. It may be present at birth, develop at the onset of puberty (praecox), or not become apparent for many years into adulthood (tarda). Some cases of lymphedema may be associated with prostate cancer or from other vascular abnormalities. In the lower extremity it will be unilateral or bilateral. If it is bilateral, one leg may be worse than the other.
The most common and accepted treatments of choice for lymphedema are Sequential Gradient Pump Therapy and Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), also known as manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), often including short stretch compression bandaging, therapeutic exercise, and skin care. MLD is now recognized along with pneumatic pumps, and compression sleeves, as a primary tool in lymphedema management.
Sequential Gradient Lymphedema Pump Therapy has been utilized for over 30 years throughout the world. Manufacturer's such as LymphaPress & Bio Compression Systems have helped pioneer and perfect this technology by utilizing a 4-12 chambered pneumatic sleeves to gently move the lymph fluid. There are several other manufacturers of these devices that are recognized treatments and approved by Medicare in the USA. Newer pump garments such as the LymphaPants LymphaPress Jacket can provide compression through out the body, while massaging the lymphedema edema in a technique close to that in manual therapy.
LymphaCare has been providing Lymphedema compression pumps to patients and the medical community for nearly 15 years. Adam Anschel, Director of Sales at LymphaCare says that Lymphedema pumps are a clinically proven and cost effective therapy.
"Treatment compliance is increased as patient's with lymphedema and or venous insufficiency can utilize the compression pumps in the comfort of their home" Adam says. LymphaCare has seen a significant improvement with many patients, especially if they received MLD or CDT prior to receiving a pump. Unfortunately for many patients the geographic, financial, or time constraints may preclude attending physical or occupational therapy for treatment.
LymphaCare has had a great deal of success obtaining the lymphedema pumps for patients for home use through Medicare, Aetna, Blue Cross, and most major medical insurance policies. In fact, under the Women's Health and Cancer Act of 1998 (WHCRA), group health plans, insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) offering mastectomy coverage also must provide coverage for certain services relating to the breast cancer in a manner determined in consultation with a physician and patient. This required coverage includes all stages of reconstruction of the breast on which the mastectomy was performed, surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance, prostheses and treatment of physical complications of the mastectomy, including lymphedema.
LymphaCare is a national provider and billing and reimbursement specialist for compression therapy devices such as Bio Compression & Lympha-Press Sequential Lymphedema Pumps, Reid Sleeves, Solaris-Tribute, and Jobst Elvarex custom garments.
LymphaCare Lymphedema products can be found at or by calling LymphaCare at 800-288-1801.