Lymph Focus aims to provide local access to comprehensive high-quality care for people with Lymphoedema.
Principle Physiotherapist, Holly McLennan graduated with Honours from UniSA in 2008. Over the following 10 years, while working as a physiotherapist, she began treating patients with Lymphoedema alongside experienced Lymphoedema Practitioner Kathy Webber. She developed a passion for working with this group of people after witnessing the dramatic improvement that specialised care can make to quality of life. At the same time, she also became aware that there were limited services available for patients on the Eyre Peninsula outside of the acute hospital setting.
To better meet the needs of her patients with Lymphoedema, Holly went on to undertake formal post-graduate training in Sydney and qualified as a Level 1 Lymphoedema Practitioner in 2015. This internationally recognised qualification allowed her to deliver evidence-based treatment and to provide up to date information to her patients to empower them to take control of their own health. In late 2018, Holly decided to focus solely on Lymphoedema treatment, which led her to open Lymph Focus.
When not at work Holly is busy looking after her two young children (James who is starting school in 2019, and 1 year old daughter Kennedy). There is never a dull moment but Holly wouldn’t have it any other way!
What is Lymphoedema?
Put plainly, Lymphoedema is chronic swelling in a part of the body such as the arm, leg or breast. This swelling, or oedema, can occur for a variety of reasons (for example damage to the lymphatic system).
The lymphatic system is like a complex network of clearance pipes throughout the body that remove excess fluid and ‘debris’. It has a crucial role in managing extra-cellular fluid in the cardio vascular system, and is a vital part of the immune system.
Some forms of Lymphoedema are congenital and can be present from birth. These are known as Primary Lymphoedema. Other forms of lymphoedema are acquired, and occur as a result of factors such as surgery, trauma, or radiotherapy. These forms are termed Secondary Lymphoedema. Conservative estimates suggest that 1 in 5 people who survive melanoma, breast, gynaecological, or prostate cancer will develop Secondary Lymphoedema. Secondary Lymphoedema can occur months or years following cancer treatment, and usually develops slowly.
What are the signs?
·A feeling of heaviness or tightness in a limb or body part
· Transient or long term swelling
· Rings or watches may feel tighter
· (in most cases lymphoedema is not painful)
Early detection and treatment is important!
Lymphoedema ranges on a scale from mild to severe. There is no cure, but specialised treatment can minimise symptoms and disease progression. Ask about the early detection and monitoring tools available in Port Lincoln.
While early stage lymphoedema can be intermittent and barely noticeable, late stages of the disease can significantly reduce quality of life. If the disease is left untreated, the tissues can become hard (fibrotic); fatty adipose tissue is likely to develop; and skin changes occur. These changes are much more difficult and costly to treat, and cause an array of symptoms including increased risk of serious infection (cellulitis).
Treatment options vary depending on your individual needs and what works best for you! Treatments that may be recommended include: Lymphatic Massage, Laser Therapy, Education, Skin Care Advice, Compression Garments, Prescription of Specific Exercises/Movement, Weight Management, Bandaging, Pneumatic Pumps, and for a limited number of people Surgery might be an option.
Accessing services through Lymph Focus
Holly can assess your individual condition, and develop a plan to maximise your treatment results and quality of life. She can also provide education and practical advice about minimising the risk of developing lymphoedema for people at high risk (e.g. cancer survivors).
Individuals who would like further information, an assessment, or treatment for lymphoedema, can call (08) 8683 1800 and book an appointment (a referral is not required). Lymph Focus also takes referrals from GPs and other specialists. Some patients may be eligible for reduced fees if they are referred by a GP under a Team Care Arrangement. Private Health Insurance rebates are available, and Department of Veterans’ Affairs card holders are also welcome.