Yet another “new” item that seems to be showing up in regards to lymphedema is the claim that you can cure lymphedema.
Use this lotion - take this potion!
In the days of the old West, we always hear the stories of snake oil salesmen traveling through the countryside with their wagons hustling “magical cures” for all ailments.
We are much more sophisticated today, now we use the internet to sell the snake oil.
Please understand that as of this date (Dec. 31, 2011) there is absolutely no “cure” for this condition. Don't be misled by someone who claims to have such cure. Certain techniques that claim to cure lymphedema is exercise and/or microsurgery, lymph node transplant. First, there is absolutely no evidence to support the claim the early intervention and exercise can cure LE. Microsurgery does hold promise and some have had initial good results. However, that is still considered as experimental and there are no studies out showing the long term results (10 years).
Lymph node transplant is also very very early in its use and is considered quite controversial and is very much experimental. Also, because there is mounting evidence that anyone who gets secondary lymphedema was born with a defective lymph system. Yanking out nodes in these individuals to put elsewhere is simply transferring the locale of the potential start of lymphedema. We need honest, clear independent clinical research on outcomes that cover not simply a couple years or even five years, but much further out to include 10 years and 20 years.
Why is there no cure?
The understanding of this, rests in the pathophysiology of lymphedema. Lymphedema is caused by either trauma/damage to the lymphatics and/or being born with a malformed lyhmp system. Those born with it may also be missing lymph nodes throughout their body. This is why I had LE from birth. I am missing critical inguinal lymph nodes as demonstrated by a lymphangiogram I had back in 1966,
The only way to cure lymphedema is to have that lymph system repaired (healed) or to have any missing nodes regrown.
There is no way of doing that, at the moment. There IS promising research going on, but we are still a long way off.
Believe me, if anyone would hope for a cure for this rotten condition it would be me. Mine started from birth some 50 years ago and presently I am having to cope with many complications, some of which includes lymphoma (a lymphatic cancer) and had massive pleural effusions.
Continued: How to Cure Lymphedema