HC Deb 21 March 2003 vol 401 c963W
Dr. Murrison

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to promote therapies for people with lymphoedema. [104154]

Jacqui Smith

There is currently no cure but, with appropriate treatment, lymphoedema can be very well managed in the national health service. These treatments consist of a combination of skin care, exercise, massage and compression garments or bandaging. In a few cases it is possible to help surgically, for example by transplanting lymph vessels.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has recently updated the Improving Outcomes in Breast Cancer Guidance, and that guidance made some recommendations about lymphoedema. The guidance recommends that cancer networks should agree guidelines for identification and management of lymphoedema and that a lymphoedema service, staffed by nurses and physiotherapists who have experience in dealing with this problem, should be available for all patients who experience arm swelling or discomfort.

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