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For “At Risk” Individuals

In the United States, the largest group of individuals “At Risk” for developing lymphedema is those being treated for a cancer diagnosis.  Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries that include lymph node removal have all been strongly linked to the onset of lymphedema.  An individual who has received even one of these interventions as part of their cancer care is considered to be “At Risk”.  Some “At Risk” individuals never develop symptoms, others develop symptoms within weeks of beginning cancer treatment, and still others do not develop symptoms until decades after their cancer care.  Why some develop symptoms while others do not continues to be an unsolved medical mystery.

Because lymphedema is typically slow to progress, an individual may have the condition for some time before symptoms are recognized.  This is especially true for those who do not know what they are looking for.  For “At Risk” individuals, meeting with a Certified Lymphedema Therapist provides an opportunity to learn how to reduce the risk of developing lymphedema, recognize early warning signs, ask questions, and establish baseline measurements for future comparison.  In some cases, this education can help to prevent symptoms from ever developing.  In others, knowing how to identify early symptoms can result in a less involved or intensive course of treatment and much better overall outcomes.

If you believe that you are “At Risk” for developing lymphedema, or have already begun to develop symptoms, please contact us or your health care provider to ask about a referral to Inland Hospital’s Lymphedema Services.