Clinically Proven Treatment for Post-Breast Cancer Lymphedema Released

Home Blog Clinically Proven Treatment for Post-Breast Cancer Lymphedema Released

By: Krista Barnett, Marketing Manager, medi USA

This article was originally featured in the Third Quarter 2019 Essential Advantage.

Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2019, it's estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers. 

The incidence of lymphedema post-breast cancer treatment varies from patient-to-patient depending on the severity of the treatment procedure, with the number of lymph nodes removed being the leading factor. Lymph nodes are found throughout the body, but the ones found near the breast can be affected by breast cancer treatment. As part of many breast cancer surgeries, many people with breast cancer have at least two or three lymph nodes removed from under the arm (sentinel lymph node biopsy), and sometimes many more nodes (axillary lymph node dissection). If the cancer has spread, it has most likely moved into the underarm lymph nodes first because they drain lymph from the breast. Other factors contributing to lymphedema are body mass indices, lifestyle and family history. 

With increased lymphedema awareness, there is now a greater focus on both the prevention and early detection of lymphedema. The challenge, though, is that lymphedema can be difficult to detect because it is typically not painful and can develop years after the treatment was even performed. Lymphedema occurs when the lymph fluid cannot flow towards the heart properly and accumulates in the tissues. It’s often compared to a traffic jam. The arms and legs swell up and edema forms, and with that, chronic swelling. Lymphedema is a progressive disease that once a certain stage has been reached, it rarely can be reversed. Widespread education and an early detection method with treatment plans can help defend against debilitating stages of post-cancer lymphedema. The development of lymphedema can occur years after a surgical procedure and can easily be mistaken as “weight gain” since proven diagnostic tools are not available, or haven’t been available, until now.

A recent study published in May of 2019 in the Annals of Surgical Oncology demonstrates clear clinical evidence that the early use of the Bioimpedance screening surveillance and utilization of mediven® harmony are effective tools in lymphedema prevention. Use of the mediven harmony arm sleeves and gauntlets assisted in preventing the progression of subclinical lymphedema in the largest randomized controlled trial focused on lymphedema prevention.

The harmony products have been called the perfect balance between effective containment (strong) and wearing comfort (soft) for upper limb compression. mediven harmony is a unique fabric that is soft to touch, clinically effective and easy to apply. The precision fit and unique elbow ellipses (one in the crease and one on the point of the elbow) provide accurate compression therapy with freedom of movement, ultimately allowing patients to “feel better”. mediven harmony compression garments provide clinically proven results that promote patient independence, and now, are an effective tool in lymphedema prevention. 

For full study, visit https://doi.org/10.1245/s10434-019-07344-5.

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