Why St Ann’s Hospice’s Lymphoedema Clinic is so important

During Lymphoedema Awareness Week, St Ann’s Hospice’s Lymphoedema Clinic want to share their knowledge about the condition which affects many people in the Greater Manchester area.

By Sam Izard on March 5, 2024

Lymphoedema is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the lymphatics causing swelling of the tissues and it can also predispose people to infection. Lymphoedema can occur anywhere in the body, with half a million people in the UK estimated to have the condition.

Lymphoedema can be present from birth due to congenital or hereditary cause, or it can be a secondary condition that is developed after having another illness such as heart disease and cancer. It can also be caused by trauma and repeated infections which in turn, cause damage to the lymphatic system.

The St Ann’s Lymphoedema team run an outpatients clinic at both of their hospice sites in Heald Green and Little Hulton.

Though the clinic is based in a hospice, most of their patients do not have a palliative condition. Some patients have been coming to the clinic for many years for advice and support to help manage their lymphoedema. Other patients can be discharged once their condition is stable and well managed, but they have the option to self-refer back if needed.

Rachel Underwood is an outpatient at the lymphoedema clinic, she says: “I’ve been an outpatient at St Ann’s Hospice’s Lymphoedema Clinic for the last 4 or 5 years and I’m so grateful for the brilliant team who have supported me so much.

“I had cancer 26 years ago and as a result of the radiotherapy and chemotherapy I developed lymphoedema. At the time of being treated it wasn’t a consequence I thought much about, as you choose any option to save your life.

When people think of a hospice they often don’t think of people going there who aren’t having end of life treatment, but they do brilliant work with outpatients and I couldn’t recommend them enough. Rachel Underwood

The Lymphoedema Clinic provide education and practical advice to their patients to teach them how to self-mange their condition. They also measure and assess for compression garments, amongst a variety of other specialised treatments.

For more information about the Lymphoedema Clinic and what St Ann’s Hospice do in the community, see more at SAH.org