Clinical Area Fundraisers

BC Lymphedema Program

Lymphedema is a chronic disease that causes lymph fluid to collect in the body’s tissues due to an impaired lymphatic system, typically due to the surgical removal of lymph nodes, radiation treatment or other trauma.  It results in swelling, most commonly in the upper & lower limbs that worsens over time and can lead to life-threatening infections and disability.

In Canada, lymphedema most commonly develops secondary to cancer treatment (where lymph nodes have been removed and/or irradiated), traumatic injury, or infection. Lymphedema can occur days, months or even years after patients recover from their initial diagnosis. 

Despite its devastating impact, lymphedema is underdiagnosed and woefully misunderstood. Patients have few treatment options and, without a cure in sight, must rely on continuous therapy which consists of daily compression wraps, lymphatic drainage therapy, and other conservative management to control their symptoms. These are both time-consuming and unaffordable as there is little medical coverage for these costs. Left untreated, symptoms progress, often leading to life-threatening infections and a cycle of hospitalizations. 

Imagine fighting for your life, overcoming the odds of surviving cancer, a trauma or a life-threatening infection, only to be left with a chronic, painful and disfiguring disease that impacts your daily life and makes the simplest of everyday tasks a challenge. This is the reality for an estimated one million Canadians, approximately 130,000 in BC, including 20-30% of breast cancer survivors. 

With the generous support of philanthropists like you, Dr. Erin Brown will revolutionize lymphedema care in our province. Having completed an intensive period of specialized micro-surgical training with leading experts in Asia, he brings surgical options, with the potential to halt and even reverse disease progression, to BC lymphedema patients. Dr. Brown will work alongside Dr. Elliot Weiss, a longstanding leader in lymphedema care, and other experienced professionals to establish a first-in-BC clinic to determine whether a new surgical technique would be an appropriate treatment for a patient. 

How You Can Help

Your generous support of this new BC Lymphedema Program at VGH will allow us to purchase diagnostic and specialized super-microsurgical equipment necessary to bring these proven surgical techniques to western Canada. Together, we will usher in a new era for lymphedema patients and change the prognosis for hundreds of cancer survivors and others living with this devastating disease.

Donate today by clicking the Donate Now button or you can send a cheque made out to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation with a note that states the donation is to support the BC Lymphedema Facility.

Mail all cheques to:

 PO Box 34527                                                                                       Pemberton Plaza PO                                                                                     North Vancouver, BC V7P 1T0

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation is Vancouver Coastal Health’s primary philanthropic partner, raising funds for specialized adult health services and research for all British Columbians. We partner with donors to drive innovation and sustainable health care at VGH & UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Vancouver Community Health Services.

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