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Queensland University of Technology Study: Lymphoedema - Public Health Issue Deserving of Greater Attention

7/23/2008 2:35:06 PM

A new Australian study using bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) technology to provide increased visibility of risk factors leading to early diagnosis of lymphoedema has shown the prevalence of the disease to be a public health issue deserving of greater attention.

The study undertaken by the Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation has received international recognition following publication in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Principal researcher for the study, Dr Sandra Hayes, said the findings showed that in Australia alone, each year more than 3,000 women will experience lymphoedema after breast cancer.

“It is clear that lymphoedema after treatment for breast cancer is a disease that is common in our society warranting greater public awareness.”

The only medical devices company with an FDA clearance in the United States for the clinical assessment by Health Care Providers of secondary lymphoedema in the arm is ImpediMed.

ImpediMed CEO Greg Brown said the study builds on findings made by the same researchers published earlier this year, which considered BIS to be the most direct, accurate and reliable method for assessment and diagnosis of secondary lymphoedema.

“Secondary lymphoedema is arguably the most problematic and dreaded complication of breast cancer treatment. So, the use of BIS to detect the symptoms of secondary lymphoedema will become increasingly important, especially as treatment paradigms shift to early diagnosis and early intervention in line with recent findings of the US National Institutes of Health, National Naval Medical Center and George Mason University Study.”

Dr Hayes confirmed that the study deliberately chose bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) as its measuring tool in searching for new risk factors because it is the most direct measuring technology available for the assessment of extracellular fluid changes.

“What we found using BIS was that at any point in time during the first 18 months of recovery from breast cancer at least one in ten women is experiencing the condition. Furthermore, by 18 months after surgery, at least 30% of breast cancer survivors have, or have had, lymphoedema.”

“In summary, our data presents current estimates of lymphoedema prevalence and cumulative burden. In doing so, it is evident that lymphoedema following breast cancer treatment is a disease that is common in our society, warranting greater public awareness.

“Those at risk, as well as health professionals working with those at risk, should be provided with the education and assistance required for prevention and detection of lymphoedema. A number of the identified risk factors, in particular sufficient physical activity and use of the affected arm, are amenable to interventions and should be investigated for their preventive and therapeutic effects among women after treatment for breast cancer.”

For more information contact:

Mel Bridges, ImpediMed Limited – Chairman, Mobile: +61-413-051-600
Greg Brown, ImpediMed Limited – CEO, Mobile: +61-408-281-127
John Lamont, Phillips Group – Media Relations, Mobile: +61-408-737-450

1. Lymphedema After Breast Cancer: Incidence, Risk Factors and Effect on Upper Body Function,
Journal of Clinical Oncology Vol. 26 No. 21 (July 20), 2008, pp. 3536-3542.

2. Lymphoedema Secondary to Breast Cancer: How Choice of Measure Influences Diagnosis,
Prevalence and Identifiable Risk Factors, Lymphology 41 (2008) pp. 18-28.

3. Preoperative Assessment Enables the Early Diagnosis and Successful Treatment of
Lymphoedema,Cancer Vol 112/ Issue 12, June15, 2008 pp. 2809-2819.

About ImpediMed Limited:

ImpediMed Limited develops and globally markets medical device systems for use in non-invasive screening and monitoring of human disorders and diseases.

ImpediMed’s primary product range consists of a number of medical devices that enable the early detection and monitoring of secondary lymphoedema in cancer survivors before the onset of symptoms that are detectable using the most commonly used clinical technique.

ImpediMed has the only medical device with an FDA clearance in the United States for the clinical assessment by Health Care Providers of secondary lymphoedema in the arm.


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