March Is All About Lymphedema 

On March 6th, the annual World Lymphedema Awareness Day gives us the opportunity to raise awareness and make lymphedema a global priority. Several countries will launch campaigns to educate patients, their families and friends, and healthcare professionals.

March Is All About Lymphedema

The Campaign 

The first Lymphedema Awareness Day took place in October 1994 and was founded by the National Lymphedema Network in the United States. Lymphedema patients who made significant contributions to their communities were honored on this special day. Since then, Lymphedema Awareness Day has become a global campaign to underscore the importance of early intervention, regular monitoring, physical activity, and compression therapy as the cornerstones of better outcomes. The British Lymphology Society even dedicates the whole week to this topic, and the Australasian Lymphology Association initiated a Lymphedema Awareness Month.  

Lymphedema in Children 

Whereas awareness of lymphedema in adults is increasing, lymphedema in children remains a rare and poorly-recognized condition.1 Most children suffer from primary lymphedema caused by the abnormal development of the lymphatic system. Lymphedema can also be associated with syndromes that affect other organ systems.2  This is different from lymphedema in adults, where secondary causes due to cancer, trauma, infections, obesity, or others are the main reasons for lymphedema. Although the basic treatment is similar for children and adults, the disease also significantly impacts parents.1 This requires special treatment, meaning that the whole family is involved in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning.  

The Specific Needs of Children and Their Parents 

Parents play an essential role in helping their child to manage lymphedema. This doesn’t only include making sure they’re wearing their compression garments, keeping up with their daily routine, eating well, and exercising—psychological support is also important. Because of the chronic nature of lymphedema, parents must prepare their children for a lifetime of management while also guiding them towards a fulfilling and enjoyable life. Though it requires maintenance and monitoring, lymphedema need not cause limitations.  

Build Awareness for Lymphedema in Children 

Join us to raise global recognition of lymphedema and lymphatic diseases. Take the opportunity to inform your family and friends that these diseases affect adults and children. Do you have any ideas for this important day? Share your ideas and thoughts with the LymphCare community here.  

 

1 Moffatt C, Aubeeluck A, Stasi E, Bartoletti R, Aussenac C, Roccatello D, Quere I. A Study to Explore the Parental Impact and Challenges of Self-Management in Children and Adolescents Suffering with Lymphedema. Lymphat Res Biol. 2019 Apr;17(2):245-252. 

2 https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/hereditary-lymphedema/  

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