March Is All About Lymphoedema

On March 6th, the annual World Lymphoedema Awareness Day gives us the opportunity to raise awareness and make lymphoedema a global priority. Several countries will launch campaigns to educate patients, their families and friends, and healthcare professionals. 

March Is All About Lymphoedema

The Campaign 

The first Lymphoedema Awareness Day took place on October 1994 and was founded by the National Lymphoedema Network in the United States. Lymphoedema patients who made significant contributions to their communities were honoured on this special day. Since then, Lymphoedema Awareness Day has become a global campaign to highlight the importance of early intervention, regular monitoring, physical activity, and compression therapy as cornerstones of better outcomes. The British Lymphology Society even dedicates the whole week to this topic, and the Australasian Lymphology Association initiated a Lymphoedema Awareness Month.  

Lymphedoema in Children 

Whereas awareness of lymphoedema in adults is increasing, lymphoedema in children remains a rare and poorly recognized condition.1 Most children suffer from primary lymphoedema caused by the abnormal development of the lymphatic system. Lymphoedema can also be associated with syndromes that affect other organ systems.2 This is different from lymphoedema in adults, where secondary causes may be due to cancer, trauma, infections, obesity, or venous disease. Although the basic treatment is similar for children and adults, the condition also significantly impacts parents.1 This requires special treatment, meaning that the whole family is involved in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning.  

The Specific Needs of Children and Their Parents 

Parents play an essential role in helping their child to manage their lymphoedema. Wearing compression garments, keeping up with a daily routine, eating well, and exercising—are all important aspects to the daily management of lymphoedema. Because of the chronic nature of lymphoedema, parents must prepare their children for a lifetime of management while also guiding them towards a fulfilling and enjoyable life. Though it requires maintenance and monitoring, lymphoedema need not cause limitations.  

Build Awareness for Lymphoedema in Children 

Join us to raise global recognition of lymphoedema and lymphatic diseases. Take the opportunity to inform your family and friends that these conditions can affect adults and children. Do you have any ideas for this important day? Share your ideas and thoughts with the LymphConnect community here.

 

1 Moffatt C, Aubeeluck A, Stasi E, Bartoletti R, Aussenac C, Roccatello D, Quere I. A Study to Explore the Parental Impact and Challenges of Self-Management in Children and Adolescents Suffering with Lymphedema. Lymphat Res Biol. 2019 Apr;17(2):245-252. 

2 https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/hereditary-lymphedema/  

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