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In an article originally written for the peak health professional organisation for Physiotherapists in Australia, The Australian Physiotherapy Association, Director of the Australian Institute of Lymphoedema, Andrea Mangion detailed two ways in which Physiotherapy can assist with the financial burden of caring for lymphoedema in their prestigious InMotion publication.

Image shows the original article in the APA’s InMotion magazine – published March 2021.

 

The two methods, suggested by Titled Cancer and Lymphoedema Physiotherapist, Andrea Mangion are:

1. Early education and treatment.

According to research by Stout et al., the cost of early intervention and care for lymphoedema patients is estimated at around $636 (USD), whereas the cost of late care is estimated at around $3,125 (USD). By providing early education and treatment services for breast cancer patients before lymphoedema develops, it is estimated that up to $3,205 (USD) per patient could be saved in the cost of care.

2. Reducing the likelihood of breast cancer-related cellulitis.

If untreated, lymphoedema-related swelling can result in fibrosis and fatty tissue deposition and infections known as cellulitis. The estimated cost of treatment for those admitted to NSW public hospitals in 2015-16 with lymphoedema-related cellulitis was $6,193 (AUD) per admission – with a stay length of over 5 days. The good news is that with the right education and the use of compression garments early on in lymphoedema swelling, not only could hospital admissions related to cellulitis be reduced, but the cost of compression garments are a fraction of the cost of hospital treatment.

 

Education on lymphoedema risks, symptoms and evidence-based treatments can significantly reduce not only the economic and psychological burden to patients, but with early treatment and the use of compression garments, more severe and costly consequences of lymphoedema, such as cellulitis, may be completely avoided.

You can read the full article, Reducing the economic burden of breast cancer-related lymphoedema, by Andrea Mangion in the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s InMotion magazine or find out more about early education and treatment options designed for practitioners on our website.

 

References

Stout NL, Pfalzer LA, Springer B, Levy E, McGarvey CL, Danoff JV, Gerber LH, Soballe PW. Breast cancer–related lymphedema: comparing direct costs of a prospective surveillance model and a traditional model of care. Physical therapy. 2012 Jan 1;92(1):152-63.
Agency for Clinical Innovation. Guide For Clinical Services. https://www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/resources/chronic-care/lymphoedema/lymphoedema-guide. Accessed 23 January 2021.