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Lymphedema research is an emerging field that is only recently beginning to attract young scientists. Much basic work needs to be done to document the prevalence of lymphedema and to help understand its pathology.

We also need to do research on ways of preventing this problem and on developing effective treatment options when lymphedema occurs. The results of this research will help advocate for appropriate rehabilitation services for those suffering from this condition.

Research Team

The McGill Lymphedema Research Program has a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and PhD researchers from the various McGill affiliated hospitals, the McGill Department of Oncology, the McGill School of Physical and Occupational Therapy and the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition. MLRP also links with other Canadian and international researchers to conduct joint projects. The director of the program is Dr. Anna Towers.

Current Research Program

Ongoing research projects include:

  1. Development of a Canada-wide collaboration of lymphedema stakeholders to promote lymphedema awareness. The current initiative focuses on promoting education and research through the Canadian Lymphedema Framework. (link to CLF)
  2. A Canada-wide study of 650 breast cancer patients to assess the prevalence and risk factors for developing lymphedema, pain and functional problems following their cancer treatment.
  3. Research on self-management of lymphedema, involving the patient and family.
  4. The evaluation of subcutaneous drainage of lymphedema in palliative care.
  5. Research on body composition of patients with lymphedema.
  6. The evaluation of prevention strategies for gynecological cancer-related lymphedema.
  7. Pilot projects on the development of international databases and lymphedema minimal data sets.

The program also partners with associations at the provincial, national and international levels to organize educational activities such as congresses, medical rounds and Tele-Health presentations.

For more information about the MLRP, please visit www.mcgill.ca/lymphedema-research