Articles on Lymphedema In Saskatchewan
Symposium Brings Attention to Chronic Edema - Prince Albert Daily Herald, May 11, 2014
Proclaimed National Lymphedema day in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Explanation of Lymphedema by Eunice Mooney, RMT CLT
Group sheds light on chronic condition
Interview with Barbara Lauterbach in Prince Albert Daily Herald March 4, 2011
By Shannon Lacroix
Lesser-known illness comes to light:
Written by Hannah Scissons, in this article Angela Connell-Furi and Evelyn Tucker.
Early detection of lymphedema crucial, says Regina woman
Featuring LAS president, Genda Cook
The Leader-Post (Regina)
Wed May 26 2010
Byline: Pamela Roth
Glenda Cook had a lot to fear when she was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.
She knew it would be a tough battle to reclaim her health, but when she found out she was at a high risk for developing lymphedema --a chronic condition that causes a visible build-up of fluid in the arm -- the 54-year-old began to fear the worst.
"I had more fear of lymphedema than breast cancer, just because it's with you forever," said Cook. "It was very hard, but you try and stay positive and think it won't happen to you."
Shortly after her surgery, Cook's fear came true when she noticed her arm was tingling and felt heavy. It was also beginning to swell.
For Cook, the official diagnosis was devastating.
Once a member of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, she can no longer play the violin -- a passion for nearly 40 years.
Also, simple tasks, such as cleaning the house and gardening, became challenges.
Now much of Cook's daily routine centres around managing her chronic condition, which involves draining the fluid from her arm and wearing compression garments.
"You have to do everything slowly or your arm will start to swell," said Cook. "It's a constant reminder that you had breast cancer and you can't just forget it."
Lymphedema is a condition that affects many people, but cancer survivors are often at a higher risk for developing the condition.
Normally, lymph fluid, which keeps tissues free of infection, is filtered through lymph nodes (glands) in the armpit on its way to the blood stream. But during breast cancer treatment, the lymph nodes in the armpit are often taken out by surgery to see if the cancer has spread.
When this happens, the lymph fluid can no longer leave the arm through its normal channels in the armpit, thus causing a continual build-up of fluid.
Tracy Gardikiotis, a physical therapist at the Pasqua Hospital, specializes in breast cancer rehabilitation for lymphedema and usually treats about a dozen patients with a range of symptoms each day.
According to Gardikiotis, if the condition is caught relatively early, it can be minimized and kept under control.
Most women who develop arm lymphedema do so within four years of their breast cancer treatment, but it can also appear several years after surgery.
Gardikiotis said education about the condition is crucial, which is why > she's a member of the Lymphedema Association of Saskatchewan Inc., a non-profit organization that educates and supports patients, health professionals and the public on lymphedema.
Since the condition isn't well known in Saskatchewan, Gardikiotis said it's often misdiagnosed, poorly treated, and not covered under health insurance.
With the proper treatment, however, Gardikiotis has watched many people suffering from the condition take back their life, including Cook.
"It's life-long, so once they develop it, it's a matter of dealing with it," said Gardikiotis. "It can cause some pretty significant psychological and social impacts on their life."
On May 30, SLLA will be hosting its first fundraiser and awareness event in Regina -- a pancake breakfast at the Copper Kettle from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Illustration: € Photo: Don Healy, Leader-Post / Sylvia Krueger, a complex de-congestive therapist, attends to patient Glenda Cook, who is being treated for her chronic condition of lymphedema, a continual build up of lymph fluid in the arms.