Why so few lymphedema therapists?

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Question from Maire: Why are there so few lymphedema therapists? Is there a standard of care that should inform patients about getting evaluated early on?
Answers - Kathryn Schmitz There is actually something this audience should know about. There's a difficulty in this field, like nutritionists and exercise trainers, in that there is no current regulation of who calls themselves a lymphedema therapist and who does not. In response to this, the National Lymphedema Network, www.lymphnet.org, has published a physicians’ paper that is easily downloaded on the adequate training of lymphedema therapists. Further, the schools that fulfill those requirements publish their lists of students who have completed and are certified. Unfortunately, that's the best we've got in the United States. I can tell you, they're way beyond us in Australia.
Nicole Stout And many of the European countries as well.
Jennifer Sabol, M.D., F.A.C.S. I think part of that is there are issues with reimbursement. It's a shame we're not particularly good at reimbursing for lymphedema care in this country. It becomes hard to find therapists who feel passionately about this and want to be well trained.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Preventing and Treating Arm Lymphedema featured Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.M.,Nicole Stout, M.P.T. C.L.T.-L.A.N.A., and moderator Jennifer Sabol, M.D., F.A.S.C. answering your questions about ways to prevent and manage lymphedema.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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