New surgeries can eliminate lymphedema from occurring - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

New surgeries can eliminate lymphedema from occurring

Source: Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center Source: Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Most people know that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but what many do not know is that millions of women who beat breast cancer confront a new challenge with lymphedema.

Lymphedema is a condition that causes swelling in the arms or legs after many lymph nodes are removed as part of cancer treatment. It is both painful and incurable, according to a news release from Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Three to five million Americans suffer from lymphedema.

As the most common side effect of breast cancer surgery, lymphedema attacks almost 40 percent of patients.

Because it can cripple a woman’s quality of life and is a continuous reminder of her battle with cancer, a handful of doctors are performing two new surgeries that not only give women hope but reduce the risk of developing lymphedema by 90 percent.

"We've never had many options for treating patients with lymphedema, but fortunately that's changing," Doctor Roman Skoracki from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center said.

Doctor Skoracki is one of only a few surgeons in the U.S. who can perform lymphovenous bypass and vascularized lymph node transfer, according to the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center website.

Both microsurgery techniques include re-routing lymphatic channels to allow fluids to drain properly.

For more information about lymphedema or breast cancer care, visit www.cancer.osu.edu.

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