A physician reference card on lymphedema prevalence and treatment in Canada

More than one million Canadians suffer from lymphedema and/or chronic edema, a progressive, chronic inflammatory condition that can affect any area of the body, most commonly the limbs. Most of these Canadians remain undiagnosed and/or untreated.

Canadian physicians are primarily familiar with cancer-related lymphedema, however recent physiological research has shown that all excess interstitial fluid is handled by the lymphatic system, concluding that any chronic swelling may, in fact, lead to lymphedema or lymphatic failure.

While some cases of lymphedema are mild and may resolve on their own, any edema lasting more than a few months causes permanent lymphatic damage. Lymphedema usually requires higher compression classes and specific decongestive approaches.

Early diagnosis and adequate management are critical to prevent complications such as recurrent bacterial cellulitis and wounds.

We developed this reference card through the Canadian Lymphedema Framework as an education tool to alert physicians regarding the latest best practice recommendations for the identification and treatment of this condition.

Dr. David Keast
Co-Chair, Canadian Lymphedema Framework

Dr. Anna Towers
Co-Founder, Canadian Lymphedema Framework


The Canadian Lymphedema Framework is committed to providing education and related tools to help advance the diagnosis and treatment of Canadians living with lymphedema.

An electronic version of the card can be downloaded below.

Download Card

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