World Cancer Day was celebrated Feb. 4, and I would like to draw attention to the often neglected survivorship issue of lymphedema. This incurable, but treatable condition affects 15% of cancer survivors overall, 40% of all breast cancer survivors as well as others, like myself, who suffer from the condition and didn’t have cancer surgery.
When cancer treatments remove or damage lymph nodes and vessels, lymphedema can result – sometimes immediately, other times not for years after cancer treatment. All survivors are at lifetime risk of developing this chronic and potentially debilitating condition.
Worse yet, Medicare and many private insurance plans fail to cover the medically necessary prescription compression supplies required to manage lymphedema. Without this central component of care, patients are at significantly increased risk of infection and hospitalization.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.