UTMC event helps provide answers for lymphedema patients

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TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - Lymphedema is a swelling of the arms or legs that's most commonly seen in cancer patients. The condition is the focus of a free event at The University of Toledo Monday night. It's called Lymphedema:from head to toe

Experts say lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of, or damage to your lymph nodes during cancer treatment. It's a one-two punch for the patients because first they have to battle the disease and then they have to deal with the swelling. The event is about education and getting answers for people living with the condition.

There's no cure for lymphedema, but it can be managed There are a lot of new tools out there to help people cope. Debra Wilkins is a massage therapist who specializes in helping people with lymphedema, "In general lymphedema is from trauma, surgery or cancer."

Debra's father died of cancer and he had lymphedema She decided to dedicate her career to helping others. In addition to manual lymphatic massage, Debra also works with a machine called the Lymphstar Pro. Debra says the machine helps break up scar tissue, adhesions and toxins, "To have someone tell me that they avoided wearing short sleeves or shorts because they don't want people looking at them, and after a few sessions they can wear those clothes again, that's remarkable."

Lori Miller is a breast cancer survivor who has lymphedema in her right arm. She says The University of Toledo Medical Center's free event provides answers for patients, "I knew the risk that my lymph nodes could be affected by cancer treatment, but I wasn't told what lymphedema was or that it could happen to me. I think it;s great that they are coming up with professional careers in that field. The experts can help give us some relief as far as swelling and bloating goes."

Debra says it's never too late to start treatment, "i work with a man who has had lymphedema in his right leg for more than 30 years and now he's at the point where he has to buy a new compression sock because the old one is too big."

An internationally-known expert on lymphedema is the featured speaker. Local therapists and product specialists were also at the event.

If you're interested in learning more about the treatment options offered at Lymphatic Wellness, LLC, you can contact Debra Wilkins at 419-260-1811.