Questions to Ask When Assessing for Lymphedema

Today Angela Long and myself are on our way to the Annie Appleseed Evidenced- Based for Complementary & Alternative Cancer Therapies Conference in West Palm Beach. We leave on our road trip early so that we can meet up with Ellen Poage ARNP, lymphedema specialist. Ellen is a wealth of information on the subject and has participated in important research that will improve how we can treat lymphedema effectively in the near future.
Since 1994, Ellen along with key members of the multidisciplinary team see and treat patients once they are diagnosed with lymphedema.
Our discussion included the need to continue having the conversation with patients about risk of developing lymphedema. The most important questions to ask when assessing for lymphedema is to ask the following questions;
Are you feeling tight, heavy, and full in your extremities and/or chest or trunk area?  The earlier these symptoms are reported and treated when the symptoms are mild the easier it is to prevent the severe debilitating lymphedema that these patients are more likely to develop (Norman, Localio, Polashnik, et al, 2009). For more information about the incidence of lymphedema in please visit://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/lymphedema/Patient
Thanks Ellen for your valuable time and attention today!
Next we are back on the road headed to West Palm Beach headed to Evidenced- Based Complementary & Alternative Cancer Therapies Conference. We have had such stimulating conversation with Ellen and now enter an oasis of education focused on helping to support individuals with a cancer diagnosis. What is clearly apparent is that most of these strategies can be applied to most anyone desiring better health.

Reference
Norman, Localio, Polashnik, teal. (2009). Lymphedema in breast cancer survivors; incidence, degree, time course, treatment and symptoms.
J Clin Oncology 20; 27(3). Pp. 390-7.
 

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