Learning about lymphedema

Organizers of an upcoming conference are hoping medical professionals, patients, family members and the general public leave with more knowledge about a prevalent but rarely-discussed medical condition.

Lymphedema is chromic swelling caused by a buildup of lymph fluid. It’s a lifelong condition, caused when the lymphatic system is either faulty or damaged and cannot function as normal.

Most often, the swelling is in an arm or a leg, but it can also form in the breast, trunk, genitals, head or neck.

The condition is either caused by a faulty lymphatic system at birth, or when someone’s lymphatic system is damaged by surgery, radiation therapy or severe injury. It can occur a short time after the damage or occur many years later.

Few prevalence estimates exist, and none detail precise figures. However, the Canadian Lymphedema Framework estimates the potential prevalence could be as high as 1 million people.

The condition leads to swelling, repeated episodes of infection, skin thickening, altered lifestyles, constant care and expenses and general deterioration of people’s mood.

The annual conference is rotates throughout Saskatchewan. On May 26 and 27, it will be P.A.’s turn to host the convention. Various speakers and other information sessions will come to the Travelodge to inform attendees over those two days.

For more information, or to register, visitsasklymph.ca or contact Schneider at m.v.schneider@sasktel.net

For more on this story, please see the May 17 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.