(ALTON, IL) – Individuals suffering from lymphedema, an accumulation of lymphatic fluid that causes swelling, usually in the arms and legs and occasionally in other parts of the body, are invited to learn more about Lymphedema Management at a free community program sponsored by Saint Anthony’s Health Center on Thursday, January 26 at 6 p.m.

Christina Wickenhauser, Oncology Services Manager for Saint Anthony’s Cancer Center of Excellence, will provide information about signs and symptoms of lymphedema. “Lymphedema may develop within days or many years after cancer treatments that affect the flow of lymph through the lymph nodes, such as removal of lymph nodes,” she says. “Most lymphedema develops within three years of surgery.”

Frances Young, Physical Therapist, will provide information about management of lymphedema at the program. “Our lymphedema management program consists of compression bandaging, manual mobilization of lymphedema, exercises, and measuring of custom garments,” says Young, who received special training in lymphedema management. “We help individuals to better manage their lymphedema, improve their activity level and decrease their pain.”

Lymphedema is classified into two categories: Primary lymphedema and secondary lymphedema. Primary lymphedema can be present at birth or develop at puberty or in adulthood, all from unknown causes. Secondary lymphedema can develop as a result of surgery, radiation treatment or infection from trauma. Symptoms of secondary lymphedema can develop immediately post-operatively, or weeks, months to years later.

The free community program will be held in the Auditorium at Saint Clare’s Hospital, 815 East Fifth Street. To register, please call 465-2264.

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