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March is Lymphedema Awareness Month

March is Lymphedema awareness month, during which the clinical, patient and advocacy communities, as well as the private sector, join forces to increase awareness of this chronic disease.

Lymphedema currently affects millions of people worldwide, however, many people are still unfamiliar with this condition and the available treatment options.

Lymphedema is a swelling of a body part, most often affecting the arms or legs. It may also occur in the face, abdomen or the genitals. Lymphedema is an accumulation of a protein-rich fluid in the subcutaneous tissues. Once present, the Chronic Condition continues to progress.

Lymphedema is classified as either primary or secondary. Primary lymphedema is caused by congenital malformation of the lymphatic system and may be present at birth, or develop later in life.

Secondary lymphedema is the most common world wide and is often the result of trauma to the lymph nodes, such as surgery or radiation. Breast cancer is the number one cause of lymphedema in the US.

Currenlty, there is no cure for lymphedema. This condition is chronic and if left untreated will become debilitating. Complete Decongestive Therapy is currently the Gold standard treatment for Lymphedema. The good news is, with dedication and commitment of both the therapist and the patient, lymphedema can be managed.

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