Coping With Lymphedema

Reviewer: Lora Miringoff, MSPT
Occupational & Physical Therapy Department, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: January 3, 2002

Coping with Lymphedema Authors: Joan Swirsky RN and Diane Sackett Nannery
Publisher: Avery Publishing Group
Price: $13.95 US
ISBN: 0-89529-856-2
OncoLink Rating:2 Stars

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Joan Swirsky is a clinical nurse specialist as well as a health and science journalist who specializes in women's health issues. She has written articles for the New York Times, and was editor in chief of the REVOLUTION-The journal of Nurse Empowerment. She has written a wide range of articles from topics about lymphedema to those that address the possible links between environment and disease. Her co-author, Diane Sackett Nannery, is a breast cancer survivor who has experienced first hand the frustration and fears when one is diagnosed with and treated for lymphedema. Together these women have written the first comprehensive book about "Coping With Lymphedema."

This book contains well-written chapters on various topics such as the physiology of the lymphatic system; how to choose a lymphedema therapist; and insurance coverage. Also included is a chapter that discusses how to cope with the emotional strain lymphedema places on both the patient and their family. The book offers information about the various practitioners qualified to treat lymphedema as well as a guide to both standard and alternative treatments. In addition, there is an extensive list of over 90 pages of references and organizations, listed by state, that treat people with lymphedema. All of this information is well organized so that the book is concise and easy to understand.

However, throughout the book the authors place quite a strong an emphasis on being suspicious and cautious regarding the medical establishment. While it is important to become educated and be an active participant in your own care, you must also foster a trusting relationship with your physician/therapist. Rather than harboring these feelings, our team would suggest a second opinion from a physician/therapist who shares your concerns.

"Coping With Lymphedema" is the first comprehensive book written about Lymphedema. It is a valuable resource for those who are suffering from lymphedema, and its underlying message is very powerful: arm yourself with knowledge and become an advocate for your own quality care. "Coping With Lymphedema" is a highly recommended resource and has received an outstanding rating from the OncoLink Editorial Team.

From the National Cancer Institute