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Rotary Club of Delhi Safdarjang (RCDS) has initiated a project on management of post cancer Lymphoedema and other related problems in the limbs. In a series of articles starting with the current issue, we hope to Inform Rotarians on the need and rationale of such a project. This is a bid to enlist a support for funds as well as personal participation in the activities.

With progress in healthcare and improvement in death rates of many diseases like cancer, there is a real need to add the focus along with care of the dying to care of the living. And this means management of chronic problems many of them leave one with a feeling ‘I would rather be dead’

Most are related to an inability of being able to take care of one self. This is largely related to problems in the limbs.

Lymphedema is a condition that reflects a disheartening reality for many cancer patients, recent study at the Tata Memorial Centre concluded a shocking incidence - 20% of all patients treated for Breast cancer develop lymphoedema. Many other cancers can cause this problem. A more prevalent problem is Filariasis affecting over 20 million people in our country. It results in an annual economic loss of more than Rs 5000 Crore .With proper information and counseling, these figures may actually come down. Doctors being busy are unable to do this counseling and this is where RCDS i.e. Rotary Club of Delhi Safdarjang is trying to step in.

The need we have identified is to educate patients about the risk of developing lymph edema after surgery or radiation therapy. how to recognize lymph edema symptoms early, and how to manage the condition.

In collaboration with an NGO doing consultancy in Healthcare and IT called SATHI (www.sathi.org) our members have been inducted into this program which is being run with a vision and motto of Improving Quality of Life among cancer survivors.

This project was formally inaugurated on International Woman's day - which was 8th March 2012. 
We recently celebrated our first anniversary with a meeting attended by over 100 patients.

‘Lymphoedema is preventable after cancer and from any cause is treatable’

Rotarians are keenly becoming educators and have promised to pass the relevant message around This sort of special interest group that we hope to create for reasons which will be brought out in subsequent articles

Currently, at AIIMS a clinic has been started where the patients are given counseling and other support. We are in the process of creating community level limb care centres at many other areas going to areas where other causes of Lymphoedema occur. These will involve local care givers and health workers – even the patients relatives.