The service offers specialist advice, support and management for cancer related lymphoedema and for those with complex oedema at end of life. It is a nurse and therapist run service and operates in east and north Hertfordshire. A similar service for west Hertfordshire is run by Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust.
Lymphoedema is a swelling that develops as a result of an impaired lymphatic system. It can affect any part of the body but is most commonly seen in an arm or a leg.
Although lymphoedema cannot be cured, it can be controlled and often improved. Early intervention and referral can help achieve better long-term outcomes.
The role of the Lymphatic system
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and lymph nodes that help drain lymph fluid and plays an important role in supporting your body’s immune system. Damage to the lymphatic’s can cause swelling and an increased risk of infection (cellulitis).
The lymphatic’s form part of your immune system, helping to deal with infection at a local level but just as importantly, they are responsible for cleansing your tissues and maintaining a balance of fluids in your body.
How does Lymphoedema occur?
If, for whatever reason, the lymphatic system is not working correctly, or the vessels are not draining adequately, the fluid in the tissues builds up. Swelling occurs when the amount of fluid in an area, is greater than the capacity of the lymphatic system to transport it away.
Lymphoedema can, therefore, be defined as 'an abnormal accumulation of protein rich fluid in the tissues'.
Tel: 01707 252466
All referrals must be sent to Queensway Health Clinic, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 0LF
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