Clinical trial of new treatment for lymphoedema

University of the Sunshine Coast

USC Clinical Trials will soon start a clinical trial for an investigational new medication to treat lymphoedema in patients who have previously had breast cancer.

Lymphoedema can occur as a long-lasting side effect of breast cancer treatment, during which time lymph nodes may be removed or damaged.

Damage to the lymphatic system prevents lymph fluid from being drained away from tissues. Lymph fluid then builds up under the skin in affected limbs and results in swelling.

Other symptoms of lymphoedema can include aching or tingling, a feeling of tightness or heaviness in the affected limbs, and difficulty moving the limbs.

USC Clinical Trials will work closely with Dr Hong Shue of the Sunshine Coast Haematology and Oncology Clinic and physiotherapist Jennifer McKenzie from the McKenzie Clinic to conduct this trial.

Dr Shue said lymphoedema could develop during cancer treatment or even many months or years afterwards. “The severity of lymphoedema is affected by the type and severity of the cancer, and the type of treatment it required,” he said.

Ms McKenzie said there was currently no cure for lymphoedema, which is managed through a variety of treatments.

“Lymphoedema often needs lifelong management, and current treatments include the use of daily compression garments, lymphatic drainage massage, skin care as well as more invasive procedures such as surgery,” she said.

The study will be run over a 48-week period and include 26 weeks of treatment. Males and females 18 to 80 years of age who have medically diagnosed lymphoedema secondary to breast cancer treatment are invited to register their interest in this study now.

Further criteria apply and will be discussed at an initial screening visit prior to confirming eligibility. Those who meet the eligibility criteria and are enrolled in the study will be compensated for their time and expenses.

Those interested in participating can go to www.usc.edu.au/trials or call (07) 5456 3797.

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