I am writing to you on behalf of close friends and a family member, all of whom have had breast cancer surgery and now suffer from lymphedema. This disease has severely altered their lives and had they and/or their doctors been aware of the onset of lymphedema symptoms, perhaps they could have been spared some of the more serious debilitating consequences.
Two things come to mind:
1) Very early detection can slow this disease so that a longer and more meaningful life can be led. After all, these affected women have already battled breast cancer itself. Symptoms shouldn't be ignored or downplayed. Family physicians specifically need to recognize the symptoms and recommend specialized intervention. Perhaps more attention to lymphedema in medical school is the place to start.
2) The NIH and AMA really need to join forces to lobby the government for additional funds for more research for cure (none available now) and for specialized treatment.
I urge you to do all you and the organization you head can do to support advancing research and treatment on this very devastating illness. I would also like to thank you for taking the time to read this email.