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Lymphedema affects more than 50,000 Americans. All cancer treatment survivors, including those being treated for breast cancer, melanoma, prostate and ovarian cancer, have the potential to develop lymphedema. Breast cancer survivors can be at a higher risk for developing lymphedema and 100 percent of patients treated for neck and head cancer will develop the disease. Physical trauma can also result in lymphedema, a major cause of lymphatic disease among our wounded veterans.
Lymphedema is the abnormal accumulation of high-protein fluid just below the skin. This accumulation causes swelling or edema in arms or legs, but it may also occur in other parts of the body such as breast, trunk, head/neck or genitals. Lymphedema usually develops when lymph vessels are damaged either during surgery or from an accident, from infections, or when lymph nodes are removed.
Those with lymphedema in a limb or body part may experience a feeling of heaviness, thickening of the skin; cosmetic deformity, discomfort and repeated episodes of infection (cellulitis).
Beebe Healthcare Physical Rehabilitation Services’ certified Lymphedema Therapists:
- Develop and provide individualized plans of care for program participants
- Work together with the client, his/her family and medical practitioners to meet client goals for independent function, restoration of activities of daily living and lymphedema management
- Provide community education for lymphedema prevention and management
- Continue to refine treatment and management skill sets through continuing education and evidence based practice guidelines
- Analyze program data to improve outcomes
How can people get into the Lymphedema Management Program?
Medical Practitioners (Oncology/ Family Practice/ Orthopedic/Vascular/ Plastics and Reconstructive Service ) refer clients to our Lymphedema Management Program with diagnoses including:
- Debility or mobility deficits
- Traumatic Injury
- Cancer (Breast/ Genital/Sarcoma/Melanoma)
- Breast Mastectomy/ Axillar Dissection/Lumpectomy
- Orthopedic Surgeries
- Venous Stasis
- Venous Insufficiency
For more information, call Lymphedema Management, located at the Beebe Health Campus - Rehoboth Beach, on Route 24 at (302) 645-3010, Ext. 2424.
Breast Cancer Pathway Program
The Breast Cancer Pathway Program is comprised of:
- Clients who have undergone mastectomies, axillary dissections, and /or breast reconstruction
- Tunnell Cancer Center Oncology Services medical and psychosocial practitioners
- Beebe Healthcare Rehab Services (including our certified lymphedema therapists); acute care therapists , home health therapists and outpatient therapists
- Beebe Healthcare Home Care Services nurses
The Breast Cancer Pathway Program assists clients from diagnosis through survivorship by providing:
- Pre-surgical education and training related to maintaining function through surgery and adjunctive cancer treatment
- Fitting for post- surgical compression garments
- Post-surgical care to assist the client to achieve his/her optimal functional independence
The Breast Cancer Pathway Program teaches clients:
- proper positioning
- functional movement, mobility , strengthening and breathing exercises
- activities of daily living modifications and strategies
- tips to prevent loss of function