Most Americans have never heard of Lymphedema. The crazy thing is… 10 million Americans have it and don’t know what it’s called, who to talk too, or how to get treatment. This is a life-altering and life-threatening disease that you or someone you care about may have. It’s time to know. So, here are 10 Things You Should Know about Lymphedema & Lymphatic Diseases:
- More Americans have Lymphedema and lymphatic diseases than AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and ALS – combined.
- Lymphedema will occur in up to 50% of breast cancer survivors, and 100% of those with head and neck cancer.
- Lymphedema can be caused by trauma and is a major issue for our injured military personnel.
- 100 million worldwide suffer from the parasite-borne lymphatic disease called elephantiasis (filariasis).
- The lymphatic system is our immune system’s first defense against infection.
- Lymphedema commonly affects the arms and legs and often leads to life-threatening skin infection called cellulitis.
- Cancer uses the lymphatic system to metastasize. If we stop cancer metastasis, we are on our way to beating cancer.
- Lymphatic research sheds light on AIDS, diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Medicare and Medicaid fail to cover the most basic treatments for Lymphedema.
- Lymphedema and lymphatic diseases are notoriously ignored in medical curriculums, the diseases are underresearched and underfunded, and patients can spend years getting a diagnosis and proper treatment.
Save-the-date for Lymphatic Network’s annual Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge this Sunday, September 14, at 10am. Location: Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn, NY for music, food, keynote speakers and free information.