Lymphoedema is a lifelong chronic inflammatory condition in which part of the lymphatic drainage system falls to work effectively. The condition presents as a swelling in the skin and tissues of the affected areas, causing discomfort, heaviness, limited range of movement and can have a massive negative impact to both physical and psychological wellbeing.
The many causes of the condition include surgery or treatment for certain types of cancer, especially this complication is seen in breast, gynaecological, prostatic, genital and head and neck cancers. Other secondary causes can include any surgery, repeated infections and trauma, for example following a serious accident or road traffic collision.
Over time the condition may worsen increasing the risk of further complications and disability. The lymphatic system forms part of the immune system and when compromised in Lymphoedema there is also a heightened risk of developing a cellulitis or sepsis
Lymphoedema presents challenges for an individual and it is vital to have a high standard of care and access to appropriate treatment. It is more common than most people realise and it can affect all ages.
As a registered nurse with over 35 years post-qualification experience Mary Warrilow specialised in the care and treatment of Lymphoedema for over 20 years. She has seen first-hand the serious impact the condition can have on an individual’s quality of life and the importance of access to earlier diagnosis and the right treatment.
Mary is proud to be a member of the British Lymphology Society (BLS) and to support Lymphoedema Awareness Week. Early detection, intervention, and appropriate treatment are very important to improve a person’s quality of life and reduce the risks of further complications.
Mary Warrilow is an independent nurse expert at Maggie Sargent & Associates and provides expert witness reports on assessment, diagnosis, care treatment and equipment for Lymphoedema, Lipoedema and associated conditions.