May 5, 2021
Cheyenne, WY—The Cancer Center at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (CRMC) is now offering a new program that can help prevent or reduce the development of secondary lymphedema in cancer survivors.
Lymphedema is a leading post-treatment complication for many cancer patients characterized by lymphatic fluid buildup that causes painful and sometimes debilitating tightness and swelling in the affected limb.
The new program uses bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) to measure the level of fluid buildup in an at-risk limb compared to the level in a healthy limb.
The scan is delivered via a scale-like device called a SOZO. Patients step on the SOZO and then hold still for the BIS scan, which is non-invasive and lasts for about 30 seconds.
The scan can detect extremely small changes in fluid levels.
The Cancer Center’s two new SOZO devices were funded by grants from the Wyoming Breast Cancer Initiative and the Cheyenne Regional Foundation. The CRMC Cancer Center is the first healthcare facility in Wyoming to offer this technology.
“Cancer survivorship is growing rapidly as a result of improved treatments, and we are proud to be the first cancer center in our region to offer this lymphedema prevention program,” said Amber Carroll, CRMC’s lead outpatient physical therapist, specializing in lymphedema treatment. “We also want to thank the Wyoming Breast Cancer Initiative and our Foundation for funding the purchase of the SOZO devices so that we can offer this service to our patients.”
Patients who undergo surgical, radiation or certain chemotherapy treatments for breast, melanoma, gynecologic or urinary cancers are the most susceptible to lymphedema since they may have experienced damage to the lymphatic drainage system in one or more limbs.
Recent clinical studies show that early detection using the BIS scan combined with standard at-home compression therapy can reduce the progression of lymphedema by 95 percent.
At-risk patients participating in the lymphedema prevention program receive a baseline score, or measurement, before receiving cancer treatment and are then measured regularly after treatment begins to help catch and prevent fluid buildup.
The new program will begin with patients starting breast cancer treatment at the CRMC Cancer Center or Cheyenne Regional Medical Group’s Consultants in Surgery. Other cancer survivors at risk for lymphedema will be offered access to the program in the coming weeks.
The treatment is covered by Medicare and Medicaid in addition to some private health insurance.
“Of the nearly 17 million cancer survivors living in the United States, it’s estimated that one in three of them will develop lymphedema,” Carroll said. “We are so pleased that we can now offer cancer survivors in our region a reliable method to detect and help prevent the development of lymphedema.”
More information about the new program is available by calling the CRMC Cancer Center at 307-634-9311 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .