Options: Chia Yie Loh treats Janice Bellamy at Maitland Private Hospital with inflatable trousers used to reduce swelling. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.IT IS a chronic condition that can affect20 per centof cancer survivors, and one in 6000 people are born with it, yetmany sufferers are left undiagnosed.
Lymphoedemais the accumulation of excessive amounts offluid that results in the swelling of parts of the body,caused by a mechanical failure of the lymphatic system.
Janice Bellamy, of East Maitland, did not realise she had the condition until 2014.
In her case, it was genetic.
“My arms, and particularly the legs, were the worst, and I had a little bit of swelling around the trunk,” Ms Bellamy said.
“They were getting quite big, and starting to harden.
“If left unattended, it can go hard, you can become immobile, and your skin can go rough and scaly as well.
“It’s very painful.”
Easing swell of symptoms TweetFacebook Lymphoedema treatment optionsJanice Bellamy with Maitland Private Hospital senior physiotherapist, Chia Yei Loh. Pictures by Max Mason-Hubers.Ms Bellamy wants to raise greater awareness of the condition, which she said could also affectcancer survivors who had lymph node surgery or radiotherapy.
She encouraged others with excess swelling to explore treatment options.
“Follow exactly what your therapist says to do, I’ve done that, and it does make a difference,” she said.
“I do a short lymph node massage morning and evening, keep active, do a little bit of exercise, and I try to do some hydrotherapy through the week. It all helps.”
Maitland Private Hospital is hosting a free seminar on lymphoedema on Tuesday, June 27.
While there is no cure for the condition, symptoms couldbe alleviated with appropriate management,senior physiotherapist, Chia Yei Loh, said.
“The true risk factor profile for lymphoedema is unknown, but there may be many factors that predispose an individual to developing it,” she said.
“These include surgery with lymph node dissection, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, cancer, orthopaedic surgery, obesity, immobilisation, and prolonged limb dependency, and many more.
“Unfortunately, there are limited resources around the Hunter… It is important to ensure that lymphoedema sufferers are aware of self-management techniques and long term control of this condition.”
Bookings for the seminar are essential on 4931 2311.