The human body functions through a complex network of systems, each contributing to maintaining balance and good health. The lymphatic system plays a pivotal role in supporting our wellbeing, particularly for cancer patients. In this blog post, we outline how the lymphatic system works and explore the therapies employed by Cancer Rehabilitation & Lymphatic Solutions in the effective management of lymphoedema.
Understanding the Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a parallel circulatory system, sewerage system, and immune system. It relies on the muscle pump action of the body to facilitate lymph transportation around the body from the peripheral limbs, torso, and head and neck. Lymph nodes, strategically located throughout the body, play a key role in filtering harmful substances and supporting the immune response to cancer cells, infections and viruses.
Cancer Related Lymphoedema
Lymphoedema poses a significant concern for individuals following a cancer diagnosis, especially when surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation, involving the lymph nodes is part of the treatment. This condition can result in swelling, discomfort, and a reduced quality of life. At Cancer Rehabilitation & Lymphatic Solutions in Erina, our focus is on proactive strategies, prioritising early detection and intervention to minimise the impact of cancer-related lymphoedema on our patients.
Understanding the risk factors for cancer-related lymphoedema is essential. Factors such as the extent of cancer treatment, including surgery, the number of lymph nodes removed, the inclusion of chemotherapy after a full lymph node dissection, and/or radiation treatment contribute to the risk level. Our integrated approach, featuring the synergy of OncoLaser™ using MLS® Laser Therapy, marks a significant advancement for those navigating the complexities of post-cancer treatment.
Lymphoedema Management at Cancer Rehabilitation & Lymphatic Solutions: A Holistic Approach
Our tailored, individualised approach to lymphoedema treatment encompasses a thorough physical evaluation during an initial consultation. Subsequent treatment may include manual lymph drainage through specialised massage techniques, compression bandaging, personalised garment prescriptions, and an educational component. Patient education highlights the importance of exercise, optimal skin care practices, travel precautions, dietary considerations, and the crucial role of psychosocial support. Exercise prescription and breathing techniques are a significant component of treatment and education.
Embracing evidence-based practices, three core components define our lymphatic solutions:
1. SOZO Technology
Modern technology has revolutionised our ability to monitor and manage lymphoedema. Our clinic was an early adopter of the SOZO, which uses bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) to offer precise measurements that aid in the early detection of lymphoedema. The SOZO system measures extracellular fluid, providing an L-Dex (lymphoedema index) score that guides the assessment and management of lymphoedema. From screening before, during, and after cancer treatment, SOZO offers invaluable insights, ensuring personalised and effective care.
Following the gold standard of the Australasian Lymphology Association (ALA) recommendations, we prioritise L-Dex measurements using SOZO as part of the comprehensive care plan. This involves measuring L-Dex prior to any cancer treatment beginning, whether it be neo-adjuvant chemotherapy (chemo before surgery), surgery or radiation. Regular measurements then persist throughout the cancer treatment process and extend up to two years post-treatment, adapting frequency based on individual risk levels.
2. Oncolaser™ using MLS® Laser Therapy Technology
Developed by Kate Perkins, OncoLaser™ treatment using MLS® Laser Therapy is the cornerstone of our clinic. This advanced therapy utilises the power of light to stimulate cellular activity and promote healing. Particularly effective for musculoskeletal issues and post-op inflammation, Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy with MLS® Laser accelerates tissue repair, reduces pain, and expedites recovery, allowing patients to resume daily activities sooner. Aligned with our holistic commitment, MLS® Laser Therapy seamlessly integrates into our comprehensive approach, providing state-of-the-art solutions for a pain-free life.
OncoLaser™ treatment using MLS Laser is a breakthrough in therapeutic applications. By vasodilating lymphatics and blood vessels, it improves circulation and lymphatic transport function, alleviating symptoms and softening hardened lymphoedema tissue. Softening radiation scar tissue is crucial, as fibrotic tissue layers can impede lymphatic transportation, potentially causing lymph fluid to become ‘stuck.’ OncoLaser™ treatment plays a vital role in mitigating these effects.
3. Lymphatic Drainage Massage
The therapeutic wonders of manual lymphatic drainage massage form a cornerstone in our approach to managing lymphoedema. This specialised massage technique aims to improve lymphatic system function, reduce swelling, and promote overall wellbeing. Our skilled therapists employ a firm, hands-on treatment tailored to the unique needs of each individual Lymphatic drainage massage is not just a massage; it’s a holistic treatment designed to enhance the quality of life for those navigating the challenges of lymphoedema.
Ready for Your Comprehensive Lymphoedema Management Plan?
Addressing issues with the lymphatic system requires a comprehensive approach. By developing innovative therapies such as OncoLaser™ treatment using MLS Laser, and embracing the diagnostic precision of SOZO technology and the therapeutic touch of lymphatic drainage massage, our commitment is to empower individuals on their path to recovery. You can trust Cancer Rehabilitation & Lymphatic Solutions to treat the side effects of cancer treatment following breast cancer, head and neck cancer, melanoma, prostate cancer, gynaecological cancers and more.
Through knowledge, technology, and compassionate care, we stand by our patients, providing them with the tools they need to live life to the fullest.
Contact our friendly Central Coast team on (02) 4312 7033 to make an appointment.