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Innovative Technique Seeks to Prevent Lymphedema in Breast Cancer Patients
Date:7/23/2013

o develop increasing lymph volume in their arm, even if there’s been no external change, we know they are on their way to developing lymphedema,” says Dr. Feldman. “By using a support sleeve and seeing a physical therapist (for range-of-motion exercises), they may never experience lymphedema.”

This study is part of a comprehensive lymphedema management in the breast cancer program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia encompassing education, lymphedema prevention, and, in the future, potential treatment of patients with lymphedema who have not responded to decongestive therapy, which involves wrapping of the limb and specialized massage for drainage.

The LYMPHA pilot study seeks to enroll 10 patients with confirmed nodal metastases whose veins are suitable for the bypass.

The next step would be a multicenter trial throughout the U.S. to confirm the efficacy of the LYMPHA procedure. Eventually it could become the standard of care for cancer patients needing ALND. The lymphatic-venous bypass could also potentially be used to treat patients with lymphedema that is not well controlled with decongestive therapy. The earlier treatment begins, the more likely the condition is to be reversible.

Says Dr. Feldman, “We can now help patients maintain a normal quality of life by most effectively preventing and treating lymphedema without compromising their cancer treatment. We never want to let quality of life trump the cancer treatment. We want both—we don’t want people to experience lymphedema.”

To be considered for the study, breast cancer patients needing lymph node dissection should contact Amiya Vaz at 212-305-1317 or by email at: av2454(at)columbia(dot)edu.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive hospitals, with 2,589 beds. In 2012, the Hospital had nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits, including 12,758 deliveri
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