In the United States and around the world, breast cancer is one of the most frequently occuring and pervasive conditions. According to Breastcancer.org, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. When discussing breast cancer, we often focus on treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery. However, we do not often discuss the conditions that can arise from these treatments that can impact daily life, such as lymphedema.
Lymphedema is the swelling in an arm or leg due to blockage in the lymphatic system of our body that affects 25% of breast cancer patients. The swelling can be painful or uncomfortable and is usually treated with a compression sleeve or massage. However, this is rarely discussed as part of breast cancer treatment.
This month is Lymphedema Awareness Month and we hope to bring more awareness to this issue and highlight the important work that organizations like the Lymphedema Education & Research Network as well as university centers such as the ALERT Program at Macquarie University in Sydney are doing to bring awareness to lymphedema and educate healthcare professionals and global communities on this condition.
You can contribute by educating yourself about lymphedema or sharing the work of these amazing organizations on social media. Let’s work together to share more about lymphedema today and help make a difference in fighting this condition.