Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT)
The lymphatic system is an important part of our immune system. and plays a role in fighting infections and destroying old or abnormal cells, such as cancer cells.
The lymphatic system is a continuous system of thin tubes and lymph nodes that runs throughout the entire body. These vessels are called lymph vessels or lymphatic vessels. The lymphatic system also includes organs such as the Spleen, Thymus, Tonsils and Adenoids.
In lymphoedema there is a build up of lymphatic fluid that causes a swelling in an area of the body. Unfortunately, Lymphoedema cannot be reversed but it can be well controlled.
Lymphoedema occurs there is a dysfunction in the lymphatic system resulting in the inability of the lymphatic system to drain excessive lymphatic fluid. This causes an accumulation of fluid within the tissues causing swelling.
Lymphoedema related to cancer may develop when the cancer blocks a lymph node or lymph vessels or the treatment received for cancer removes or damages part of the lymphatic system.
Lymphoedema is most commonly seen in the following Cancers:
The risk of Lymphoedema increases with:
Research has shown:
The aim of treatment for Lymphoedema is to reduce swelling where possible, prevent problems such as infection, encourage a return to normal daily tasks and maximise independence. Once the treatment has reduced swelling, it is very important to engage in self-management strategies to maintain the limb or body part affected.
The 4 components of CDT are:
Reference Cancer Research UK