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April 2015

2 people at info session jpeg
Ballarat Health Services lymphoedema therapist Sue Eaton with patient Ian Jenkin.

Lymphoedema subject of info session in Ballarat

Ballarat Health Service has hosted a free lymphoedema information session.

The session was held at the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre where lymphoedema program staff operated an information stand and answered questions.

An ‘Am I at risk of lymphoedema?’ interactive lecture followed.

Therapist Sue Eaton said lymphoedema was the accumulation of excessive amounts of protein-rich fluid resulting in swelling in one or more regions of the body.

‘There are two types of lymphoedema, primary and secondary.

‘Primary lymphoedema occurs due to a genetic abnormality of the lymphatic system.

‘Secondary lymphoedema occurs due to damage to the lymphatic system.

‘There are many causes of secondary lymphoedema, including surgery and radiotherapy for the treatment of some cancers, trauma, inactivity and obesity.

‘Lymphoedema may cause discomfort, swelling, difficulty with fitting into clothing, reduction in limb use, psychological problems and increases the risk of developing cellulitis, a serious skin infection,’ Ms Eaton said.

‘Lymphoedema, once developed, is a chronic condition which requires considerable time, effort and money to manage.

‘With an individualised management plan, which may include risk reduction strategies, skin care, self-massage, exercises and the wearing of compression garments, it can be reduced and its impact minimised.

‘Treatment is most successful when commenced early,’ Ms Eaton said.

Staff involved in the BHS lymphoedema program include a doctor and experienced physiotherapists with post graduate training.

The service is offered at both the Queen Elizabeth Centre and the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre.