What is Lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema is a type of swelling which occurs as a result of failure in the lymphatic system. Lymph is a colourless fluid which forms naturally in the body and helps to prevent infection by transporting dead cells and protein back to the blood circulation for disposal. If the lymphatic routes become blocked or damaged following treatments for cancer, such as surgery or radiotherapy, the build up of fluid causes swelling. Although the swelling itself is not life threatening, it can be very distressing to live with. At present there is no cure for lymphoedema but with appropriate assessment and treatment, it is often possible to reduce and control the swelling.
What does the service offer?
We offer both long and short term management programmes and provide information and advice on living with lymphoedema. Every patient attending our service has an individual plan of care and is given treatment and advice on how they can successfully control their lymphoedema. This may include some of the following treatments:
Skin care -
to help prevent infection and promote comfort
to enhance lymphatic drainage
specialist techniques to promote lymphatic drainage
bandaging or use of compression garments.
How can I be referred to the Lymphoedema Service?
Referral to the service can be arranged by your GP, consultant or specialist nurse involved in your care. We aim to see all new referrals to the service within four weeks.