Waikato study trialling a new surgical technique for the treatment of breast cancer related arm lymphoedema seeks participants

The Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust (WBCRT) is seeking participants with moderately severe treatment-resistant lymphoedema for this research. Is lymphoedema of your arm an ongoing problem for you? Have you undergone at least three months of lymphoedema therapy? If so, you may be eligible for this trial.

Mr Winston McEwan (Plastic Surgeon) is heading this Hamilton-based clinical trial introducing lymph node grafting for breast cancer related lymphoedema.

For more information, please contact; Heather Flay, Research Nurse on telephone  07 839 8726 Ext 97960 or email Heather.Flay@waikatodhb.health.nz ; or Jenni Scarlet, Research Nurse on phone 07 839 8726 Ext 97916 or email Jenni.Scarlet@waikatodhb.health.nz

Background

Lymphoedema is a condition experienced by 10-20% of people who undergo axillary lymph node dissection – an operation often performed as part of breast cancer surgery. The current standard of care for lymphoedema is conservative management which includes self-administered massage, therapeutic exercise, and use of a compression garment. 

When conservative management does not help enough, surgery can be considered. There is some evidence to suggest that transferring lymph nodes from elsewhere in the body to the affected limb can help to reduce the size of the affected arm.

A new surgical technique, called lymph node grafting, has been developed and tested in a pilot study in the Waikato. The pilot study demonstrated promising results for lymph node grafting as a treatment for moderately severe treatment-resistant lymphoedema.

WBCRT need further evidence to be certain that this technique is safe and effective, and to standardise and develop the lymph node grafting technique further. The Waikato researchers are now seeking participants with breast cancer related lymphoedema for a larger clinical trial to determine whether lymph node grafting produces a greater reduction in lymphoedema volume and improved quality of life, compared with standard treatment.

Waikato Plastic Surgeon Mr Winston McEwan, who has developed the lymph node grafting technique, is heading this trial. Surgeries and trial visits are carried out at either Alison Surgical Centre, Braemar Hospital, Anglesea Physiotherapy and/or Waikato Hospital.

For more information, please contact; Heather Flay, Research Nurse on telephone  07 839 8726 Ext 97960 or email Heather.Flay@waikatodhb.health.nz ; or Jenni Scarlet, Research Nurse on phone 07 839 8726 Ext 97916 or email Jenni.Scarlet@waikatodhb.health.nz

7 June 2019

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