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New Study Reveals Concerns About Lymphedema and Other Complications As Cancer Survivors Increase

A new study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention shows that during the next 10 years there will be a 42 percent increase of cancer survivors who are older than 65 years old. Health care professionals will need to become aware of some of the distinct challenges these types of patients face to give them high-quality care. In particular, some cancer patients deal with lymphedema as a result of surgery or radiation therapy that causes a mechanical alteration of the lymphatic system. This chronic disorder can greatly affect an individual’s quality of life. It is critical that treatment for lymphedema occurs early on, as the disorder can worsen over time. “Health care professionals need to do everything possible to keep the skin integrity and prevent further infection,” said Greg Grambor, president of Vascular PRN, a company that helps healthcare professionals nationwide with lymphedema pumps and lymphedema boots. “Compression therapy can keep fluid from repooling so that other complications do not occur.” Over time, lymphedema can lead to cellulitis, disability, and psychosocial issues. Swollen tissues can create an environment where infections can reappear and cause irreversible damage to the tissues. Pain and difficulty moving can lead to a diminished quality of life, and affect other areas of a person’s social and intimate relations. “With a doctor’s guidance, extremity pump systems and physical therapy can do a lot of good to regain comfort and lessen the issues that can ensue,” said Grambor.

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