Bridging the knowledge gap in hospitals and community clinics will lead to better outcomes for lymphedema patients

Many nurses and physiotherapists treating lymphedema patients in Canada have no formal lymphedema training. Providing health care professionals with tools for early detection, risk reduction and management of lymphedema is the focus of this year's bilingual educational conference on lymphedema.

MONTREAL, Aug. 15, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - In Quebec, it is estimated that approximately 70,000 men, women and children have some form of lymphedema, a progressive, debilitating, condition causing excessive swelling of certain body tissues. Approximately 25% of cancer survivors will develop lymphedema following surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment, and there is no known cure. Other common causes of lymphedema are longstanding venous insufficiency and obesity. Recurrent infections and disability will occur if the condition is not controlled. Yet only a minority of patients with lymphedema are treated appropriately and many wait years before they find a health professional that can recognize and diagnose their symptoms and refer them for effective treatment.

On August 23, The Lymphedema Association of Quebec, in collaboration with the McGill Lymphedema Research Program will hold their 9th annual bilingual educational conference, entitled Success with Lymphedema: Spotlight on Compression, Management and the Team Approach.

Special features are a lecture by the world authority on fitting compression garments and a lecture by a Montreal psychologist on patient resilience and self-motivation in managing a chronic condition.   A highlight will be presentations in French and English of an ethnodrama based on experiences of breast cancer survivors.  Health professionals, lymphedema therapists, garment fitters and people living with lymphedema are invited to participate in the many workshops and interactive sessions.

"Educating doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other health care professionals about lymphedema, and providing them with the tools for early detection and referral is essential in achieving positive patient outcomes" says Dr. Anna Towers, Director, MUHC Lymphedema Clinic. "With prompt treatment and education in risk reduction and self management, people living with lymphedema can avoid or reduce the debilitating effects associated with this condition".

Since 1999, the LAQ has lobbied the Canadian and Quebec governments to cover treatment and has provided resources and training for professionals and education and support to people living with lymphedema. This year, the Quebec government has awarded a grant to the LAQ to initiate The LAQ Information Centre for the Prevention of Lymphedema to further educate health professionals and patients on strategies to reduce the risks of lymphedema.

"This is a very important milestone for the LAQ", says Rachel Pritzker, President of the LAQ. "Recognition of the importance of lymphedema education and risk reduction and our government's commitment to support education and training programs will enable us to expand our reach throughout Quebec to provide the knowledge and resources to healthcare professionals and facilitate the treatment that patients need to live active productive lives and effectively manage their lymphedema."

About the Lymphedema Association of Quebec
Established in 1999, The Lymphedema Association of Quebec provides education and awareness to patients, their families, caretakers and health professionals about lymphedema, its causes,  ways to reduce the risk and treatment; provides support  to those afflicted with lymphedema; works with government on issues such as reimbursement and education and encourages research for effective treatments. To learn more about the Lymphedema Association of Quebec visit infolympho.ca

The 9th annual educational conference on lymphedema will take place on August 23, from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Hotel Maritime Plaza, 1155 Rue Guy Street, Montreal (Corner of Guy Street and René Lévesque Boulevard West). The conference is open to all. To register visit infolympho.ca and click on the conference banner. For information contact Rachel Pritzker, LAQ at aql@infolympho.ca or 514-979-2463.

SOURCE: Lymphedema Association of Quebec

For further information:

Rachel Pritzker, LAQ at aql@infolympho.ca or 514-979-2463. 

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Lymphedema Association of Quebec

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