In the United States, approximately 266,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year. A portion of these patients will develop lymphedema.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as many people know, and is represented by the color pink and the ribbon that is so well-known today. The awareness month was stared in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries.
Betty Ford – the wife of former U.S. president Gerald Ford and a survivor of breast cancer – helped start this very important effort to educate women about breast cancer and promote early screenings and detection.
Breast Cancer & Lymphedema
Sometimes, during breast cancer surgeries such as mastectomies or lumpectomies, lymph nodes in the axilla (underarm/arm pit) may be removed. They are checked to see if they contain cancer cells.
When these lymph nodes are removed, or if they are treated with radiation therapy, lymph vessels can become blocked. This prevents lymph fluid from leaving the area, and the collection of fluid in the hand, arm, chest, shoulder, that back causes pain, swelling, and discomfort is known as lymphedema.
We have been busy in October helping raise awareness about breast cancer, as our products can help treat patients who have developed lymphedema as a result of breast cancer treatment.
Our Arm Plus garments, launched earlier this year, are utilized by patients with upper extremity lymphedema to reduce swelling and increase range of motion. They are typically prescribed by physicians and lymphedema therapists. Medicare and commercial insurance companies reimburse for these garments and our line of compression therapy devices. Please contact us if you have questions about these devices and how they can help patients live more comfortably.
Helpful Breast Cancer Links
If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about breast cancer signs and symptoms, treatment options, and supporting groups and organizations, please visit some of these helpful resources.
National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)