Lymphoedema support

Posted 29 Jun 2021

Patients diagnosed with, or at risk of, lymphoedema now have easier access to a range of support and services.

The chronic lifelong condition can occur as a side effect of treatment in around 20 per cent of some cancers, when lymph nodes have been removed or damaged. 

This service, operated by the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN), will work in partnership with other support services in the Cancer Wellness Centre.

Patients can be referred to a dedicated lymphoedema physiotherapist like Brittany Siviour, pictured, who can help with fittings  of and subsidies for specialised garments to reduce swelling, as well as education around skin care, exercise and preventing infections.

A pre-screening program has also commenced to monitor cancer patients before surgery and treatment. This will equip them with information to allow the earliest possible management and treatment if the condition develops.

Breast cancer survivor Monique Bareham lives with lymphoedema and is the president of the Lymphoedema Support Group of South Australia.

“We really welcome support and services which give patients additional help and advice, and enables them to get earlier access to the treatment and management of the condition because that’s what is really helpful,” Monique says.

“A cancer diagnosis is extremely disruptive and emotionally stressful on its own and you steel yourself for all that’s involved. When you get to the end of treatment and you find that you have a lifelong chronic condition that’s incurable, it can be quite devastating. 

“Apart from being a physical condition, for many it requires daily management. It can have knock-on effects like preventing a return to work or other activities, and it adds to the burden of trying to recover from cancer.”


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