Lymphedema symposium to be hosted in Prince Albert

Jodi Schellenberg
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It is a condition that can affect many people, but especially cancer patients.

The Lymphedema Association of Saskatchewan will be hosting a Lymphedema Diagnosis Management and Care Symposium in Prince Albert on May 9 and 10 at the Travelodge.

“It is an evidence-based information and updates on diagnosis, care and management of lymphedema,” organizer Verna Schneider said. “Lymphedema is actually a collection of fluid in the tissue, usually in the limbs, caused by lymph nodes being removed or damaged.”

The symposium is being put on to provide education to people since very little is known about the condition, she said.

“The target audience is all medical and health-care professionals and also lymphedema patients, guest and other interested personnel,” Schneider said.

There will be two guest speakers at the event who are experts in their field, she said.

“Dr. Anna Towers, associate professor at McGill University, is going to talk on chronic lymphedema and its complications and unrecognized common health problem,” Schneider said. “She is director of the Lymphedema Program at McGill University Health Centre.”

Until a lymphedema clinic opened in Calgary last year, Towers ran the only one in Canada.

The second speaker is Noreen Campbell, a retired nurse from British Columbia who has developed wound management courses for the university of Victoria.

“She is a clinical specialist for wound care,” Schneider said. “She is going to speak on treatment of lymphedema related wounds.

“They are known as some of the best in their field.”

In addition to the keynote speakers, there will also be additional presentations by some local health care workers.

The first is Eunice Mooney, who is a registered massage therapist in Prince Albert, trained in complex decongestive therapy.

“She is going to talk about proper breathing techniques,” Schneider said.

The last speaker will be Tracey Gardikiotis, a physical therapist from Regina who is going to talk about aquatic lymphatic therapy.

There will also be a panel discussion including a lymphedema patient, a massage therapist, the two guest speakers and a Lymphedema of Saskatchewan executive member.

Since lymphedema can be related to breast cancer, there will also be people setting up booths with information and items about breast cancer.

“Lymphedema can be related to breast cancer patients quite often when the lymph nodes have been removed -- the flow isn’t there and they develop the big arm and so on,” Schneider said.

“It is either caused by a surgery, breast cancer patients are No. 1 or anytime a surgery is done and lymph nodes are removed, or you can get primary lymphedema, which means you were born with it,” she added.

The condition affects more people than many realize.

“I know of 14 people myself in Prince Albert that have it, me being one of them,” Schneider said. “I know there are lots more that don’t belong to our organization but there are 14 who belong to the provincial organization.”

Since the association just wants to help educate people about the condition, there is no charge for the symposium except a $10 fee for the Saturday lunch.

“We are a charity organization and education is one of our mandates,” Schneider said. “I just encourage people to come and attend, just to learn about lymphedema and how it can affect them and how they can manage it.”

To register or learn more about the symposium, people can visit or call Schneider at 306-764-3863.

Organizations: Lymphedema Association of Saskatchewan, McGill University, Travelodge

Geographic location: Calgary, Canada, British Columbia Victoria Regina Saskatchewan

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