GOAL: Ensure all people with cancer affected by lymphoedema have access to public lymphoedema therapists.
Lymphoedema is incurable swelling that impacts up to 20 per cent of people affected by some cancers. Untreated, it leads to disfigurement, limited mobility, infections, anxiety, depression and social isolation.
Unfortunately, around a third of people with lymphoedema in NSW can’t access treatment because there aren’t enough lymphoedema therapists.
‘It’s time that lymphoedema and its treatment is recognised by the government instead of the burden of care falling to patients.’
Helen Bonynge, person with lymphoedema
International evidence recommends that one therapist is needed for every 150 lymphoedema patients to provide quality services that include prevention, education and awareness. Approximately 10,250 people in NSW will be living with lymphoedema by 2016. This means that a minimum of 62.5 full time equivalent lymphoedema therapists are required across NSW. It is estimated that there are currently less than a quarter of these positions.
Cancer Council NSW is working with the Lymphoedema Action Alliance to ensure there is at least 62.5 full time lymphoedema therapists working in health services across NSW.
What you can do…
Contact your local MP to let them know we need the NSW Government to fund at least 62.5 full time lymphoedema therapists across NSW. You can use the Lymphoedema Action Alliance template letter together with the briefing paper, below. Contact details for your MP can be found on the NSW Parliament website.