Better detection and earlier diagnosis will greatly improve the quality of life for people living with lymphoedema, according to the Isle of Wight Lymphoedema Service, which is supporting national Lymphoedema Awareness Week (3 to 9 March 2019).

Although based at Mountbatten Hospice, the service cares for anyone who has been referred by a healthcare professional for treatment for the condition, which causes chronic swelling.

Lymphoedema occurs when the lymphatic system is either faulty or damaged, and can happen after treatment for cancer where lymph glands are removed. It can also be caused by an infection or conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, deep vein thrombosis or varicose veins. Other causes include obesity, trauma and being immobile, and some people can be born with the condition.

The team at Mountbatten are able to support people with the condition to live as well as possible through treatments including specialist massage and exercise, as well as using compression garments.

A patient, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It is three years since my lymphoedema was diagnosed and, thanks to excellent treatment and support from the team here at Mountbatten, my condition is not getting any worse and it is stabilised. When I was first referred by my GP, treatment entailed manual lymphatic drainage, which I received every week. The massage was fabulous and I was encouraged to follow this up with exercises and it’s worked. Every six months, they give me a follow-up appointment. The service couldn’t be improved – I would rate it five stars!” 

As part of the awareness week, a stand will be on display with more information, support and advice on offer in the John Cheverton Centre on Monday 4 March 2019. The centre is open to the general public and has a fantastic café, gardens and art gallery to explore. There is free parking and the building is accessible.

Anyone who suspects they may have lymphoedema is encouraged to ask their GP or healthcare professional to refer them to the Isle of Wight Lymphoedema Service at Mountbatten Hospice.