AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – March 6 is Lymphedema Awareness Day. Here at home, the Georgia Cancer Center is leading an initiative to help with early detection and treatment of the condition. 

Lymphedema is often a chronic condition and can become severe, leading to serious health issues. When it comes to treating it, doctors say that time is of the essence. 

Lymphedema occurs when fluid builds up in the body’s lymph nodes. The condition is often a result of cancer treatment, but can also occur in patients who don’t have cancer.

Dr. Hari Kashyap, a certified lymphedema therapist at the Georgia Cancer Center is focused on early intervention in patients.

“If we can catch these patients early on in stage one or subclinical, ‘latent’, when even it hasn’t happened,” said Dr. Kashyap. “If we can catch them early, we can actually treat and reverse the symptoms.”  

About one and one thousand people have lymphedema, which can lead to major swelling in the body. 

Dr. Kashyap tells us he’s also paying close attention to the social determinants of health to better serve lymphedema patients.

“If you don’t have insurance, if you feel like, ‘I don’t have a way to pay for it’, we still help out our patients,” said Dr. Kashyap. “We have a program where we will help them and give them good quality treatment regardless of their ability to pay. As well as…we are looking into programs where we can reach out to the poorest parts of the community.”

Dr. Kashyap’s patients say they’ve experienced a new lease on life since beginning their therapies.

“Now, I have my own pumps,” said Dr. Beverly Daniel, a patient. “I enjoy using them and I use them everyday. I have not missed a single day. And I have no intention of ever missing a single day.”

“You can survive,” said Corinne Daniel, another patient. “There’s no cure for lymphedema- no cure at all, but you can manage it and you can enjoy life even though there’s some slings and arrows that hit you in life that set you back.”

“This is where our main focus is,” said Dr. Kashyap. “We want our community to not go through this suffering. We want them to be treated early, we want them to be seen early… we want our healthcare providers to be educated on it.”

Dr. Kashyap reminds people that lymphedema can be managed and encourages education on the condition. For more information about lymphedema or to contact Dr. Kashyap, visit Dr. Kashyap’s Provider Profile.