There is a wealth of information on the Internet about lymphoedema, but it can be a bit tricky to choose the right source. Internet sites that are supported by government agencies, research institutes and hospitals are usually the best bet. Medscape, Medline, e-Medicine and PubMed are reliable sources, as is Health Insite, which is sponsored by the Australian Government.

Many of the research articles in Medscape and Health Insite are free, full text access. Medscape requires a username and password to access articles but this is easy to set-up.

Some might find it a bit daunting to read a research article. A good start is with the abstract which provides a summary of the article. Though sometimes the abstract isn't enough. 

That is where the 'free full text articles' come in handy. While reading a full research article can be a challenge, there are two sections that are worth looking at:  the Introduction and the Conclusion. The Introduction is written to tell you why the research is important; it might include a bit of history about the disorder and what question(s) the researcher is trying to address; the Conclusion is written to tell you what the researcher found out and what they might do in the future. In many instances, reading (or skimming) these two sections gives a pretty good indication of the researcher’s findings, more than what you can glean from the abstract.

Please note, the articles presented here are for information only. Please consult with your GP or specialist if you have any medical questions or concerns.

Free access article in Medscape

(To access this article, type "lymphoedema" in the search box at the top of the screen)

A Guide to Lymphedema by Kristiana D Gordon; Peter S Mortimer
In Expert Reviews in Dermatology. 2007;2(6):741-752.

You need to set-up a username and password to access articles in Medscape but it is free and easy to do, and provides good quality information.

Free access article in e-Medicine:

Lymphedema by Kathleen M. Rossy, MD et al. (last updated Feb. 1, 2008)

Click on section headings that appear in the right-hand margin to be taken directly to topics, such as “Treatment”.

Free access article in PubMed:

“A systematic review of common conservative therapies for arm lymphoedema secondary to breast cancer treatment.” By Moseley AL, Carati CJ, Piller NB. In Annals of Oncology. 2007 Apr;18(4):639-46. Moseley and colleagues are from the School of Nursing & Midwifery, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.

"Abstract: Secondary arm lymphoedema is a chronic and distressing condition which affects a significant number of women who undergo breast cancer treatment. … It was found that the more intensive and health professional based therapies, such as complex physical therapy, manual lymphatic drainage, pneumatic pump and laser therapy generally yielded the greater volume reductions, whilst self instigated therapies such as compression garment wear, exercises and limb elevation yielded smaller reductions. All conservative therapies produced improvements in subjective arm symptoms and quality of life issues, where these were measured. Despite the identified benefits, there is still the need for large scale, high level clinical trials in this area."

An important note from Claire, our consultant nurse therapist for the Lymphoedema Support Network:
"Pneumatic pumps are not recommended in NZ and there is limited access to laser treatment. The net results were achieved by a course of multi layer bandaging accompanied by massage and lymphatic exercises."

Also available

Journal of Lymphoedema – “... aims to put lymphoedema care on the map, and help develop the clinical practice of all professionals involved in this area of care.”

The Journal is published twice a year and is available to registered users. The first issue, however, is available to everyone. Click here to access articles and learn more about the journal.

Need more help finding information on the Internet?

See NZORD's Rare Disease Information page for links to online medical information search sites.