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Data Show Preoperative Assessment of Breast Cancer Patients Enables Early Diagnosis, Successful Treatment of Lymphedema
Date:4/30/2008

months, and none of the patients demonstrated progression of the condition in the follow-up period.

Steven Schonholz, M.D., a breast surgeon and medical director of the Breast Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., added: "The problem with lymphedema is that there hasn't been an easy way to detect the condition before it is apparent to the doctor and patient. Today there are new, non-invasive methods that have enabled me to identify the condition and begin treatment long before the patient is aware of a problem. If patients aren't treated at the earliest possible indication of lymphedema, it is less likely to be effectively treated, and the condition may require life-long costly treatment and, more importantly, have an enormous impact on a woman's self-esteem, function and quality of life."

While there is no standard tool used to assess the condition, physicians have relied on tape measures and water displacement to track changes in limb circumference and size as well as on patients to report changes in upper extremity mobility. Several diagnostic tools are able to accurately track minute changes in extracellular fluid to allow for the earliest possible detection. These include bioimpedance spectroscopy devices, which use an electrical signal to assess fluid changes in the body.

"Optimal management of lymphedema requires diagnostic tools that are sensitive to subclinical changes in tissue," said Dr. Schonholz, who uses an FDA-cleared low frequency bioimpedance device developed by ImpediMed Inc. in his practice.

About Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a condition that can cause significant swelling of the upper and lower extremities due to the build-up of excess lymph fluid. This can occur when the lymphatic system, which is responsible for draining excess fluid from the body and is a key component of the immune system, is damaged or altered. In breast cancer patients, this can occur after surgery, such as removal or bi
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SOURCE ImpediMed Inc.
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