Declare March 6th "World Lymphedema Day™"
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The First Annual World Lymphedema Day™ — March 6, 2016
The time has come to mount a worldwide campaign against a Lymphedemic®. Lymphedema (also spelled "lymphoedema") and lymphatic disease advocates from around the world are joining together to establish the first annual World Lymphedema Day. March 6th was chosen by advocates in India, Europe and elsewhere to coincide with the current recognition of this day in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The Lymphatic Education & Research Network fights lymphedema and lymphatic disease through education, research and advocacy and is proud to be the international sponsor of World Lymphedema Day.
Why We Need World Lymphedema Day
Great attention is paid to the battle against cancer. Yet, most people haven’t heard of lymphedema, which cancer frequently leaves in its wake. We hear little of the children born with lymphatic malformations or those who inherit lymphedema. There is silence on the issue of wounded war veterans, civilian casualties and others who suffer from lymphedema due to physical trauma or as a result of surgery. Too many who suffer feel alone. Too many medical professionals remain uneducated about this disease or underplay the devastating impact it has on a person’s quality of life. Too many go without the necessary therapeutic care. And this tragedy is compounded when government and private health insurers deny patients coverage for even the universally accepted treatments that this disease demands.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 150 million people worldwide have secondary lymphedema, while the National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that the incidence of primary lymphedema could be as high as 1 in 300 live births. Of the 1.4 billion people in 73 countries threatened by lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, 120 million are currently infected and 40 million of these patients are disfigured and incapacitated by the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that the incidence of secondary lymphedema among cancer survivors is between 20-40%. Lymphedema is estimated to affect up to 10 million people in the United States alone according to Stanford University. This represents more Americans than those suffering from AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis and ALS—combined. Finally, the continuum of diseases impacted by the lymphatic system includes heart disease, AIDS, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer metastasis. Yet, lymphatic diseases routinely go undiagnosed and untreated, and research is grossly underfunded.
A Call to Action
The message from lymphedema and lymphatic disease advocates is clear. “Lymphedema and lymphatic diseases are ready to take their place as international priorities.” The days of being invisible are over. Together, we announce World Lymphedema Day to be celebrated on March 6th. Join this movement by signing the online petition. Let’s show that every country around the globe supports this cause. LE&RN and its international members are inviting patients, their family and friends, advocates, politicians and treatment practitioners from every country to make their voices heard by signing the petition to recognize World Lymphedema Day.
Together, we can change the world.
Lymphatic Education & Research Network
Founded in 1998, the Lymphatic Education & Research Network is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization whose mission is to fight lymphatic disease and lymphedema through education, research and advocacy. LE&RN provides valuable education resources for the millions of people who suffer from lymphedema and lymphatic disease. LE&RN fosters and supports research that can deepen the medical community's understanding of the lymphatic system. For more information about lymphatic disease or the Lymphatic Education & Research Network, please visit www.LymphaticNetwork.org or call (516) 625-9675.
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