Physical therapy 'could reduce cost of lymphedema treatment'

9 January 2012

Early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer lymphedema by a physical therapist could significantly reduce the cost and need for intensive rehabilitation, according to latest research.

Scientists writing an article published in the January issue of the journal Physical Therapy for the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) suggested that a prospective surveillance model for the treatment of breast cancer-related lymphedema was significantly lower in cost compared to a traditional model of impairment-based care.

APTA member and spokesperson Nicole Stout, who led the programme, said: "This study begins to paint a picture of evidence showing that prevention of chronic conditions such as lymphedema - using rehabilitation models of care - may result in significant cost savings."

Researchers found that the prospective surveillance model cost around $636.19 (£411.83) a year compared to $3,124.92 for the traditional treatment of advanced lymphedema, also known as a lymphatic obstruction.

The condition is a blockage of the lymph vessels that drain fluid from tissues throughout the body and could affect the workings of the immune system.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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