Dr. Ron J. Karni, Chief of the Division of HNS Oncology in the Deptartment of Otorhinolaryngology-HNS at UT Health, recently published on management of lymphedema in the SPOHNC blog https://spohnc.org/scientific-progress-in-managing-treatment-side-effects-for-head-and-neck-cancer-survivors/

Dr. Karni discussed the landscape of head and neck cancer survivorship, underscoring the profound impact of head and neck lymphedema (HNL) on up to 75% of survivors, three months or more post-treatment.

Noteworthy key points from the post include:

  1. Advocacy for early interventions to address lymphedema, aiming to enhance the long-term well-being of patients.
  2. Discussion of studies using the advanced pneumatic compression device (APCD) to yield marked improvements in symptoms, including improvement of swallowing difficulties, swelling reduction, and pain stabilization.
  3. Confronting Treatment Challenges: While complete decongestive therapy remains a common recommendation, obstacles such as financial constraints, a shortage of skilled therapists, and self-limitations pose barriers to effective implementation. Acknowledging and addressing these challenges is integral to advancing the care paradigm for head and neck cancer survivors grappling with lymphedema.

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