Your Lymphatic System in Health & Disease

Your Lymphatic System in Health and Disease

What can surgery and radiotherapy mean for your lymphatic system? Explaining limb swellings and how to better recognise and manage them.

On April 23, 2013, FCIC hosted a special lymphoedema awareness session with leading specialists:

Prof Neil Piller, Director of the Lymphoedema Research Unit at Flinders Medical Centre, and

Dr Vaughan Keeley, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, Lymphoedema Clinic, at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the UK, on the evening of April 23.

The lymphatic system is the body’s sewerage system. When it does not work well the waste products of your body’s metabolism build up in the tissues, initially resulting in an accumulation of fluids, but later an increase in fatty tissue and finally fibrous tissues.


Surgery, radiotherapy and sometimes your genes can mean that the lymphatic system does not work optimally. This session will help you understand the key roles of the lymphatics in your body’s health and how you can help them function optimally, even if they have been damaged.

This event is relevant for current and past patients, people at risk of lymphoedema, massage practitioners, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and medical practitioners involved in cancer treatment who would like to learn more about the lymph system as well as techniques to lessen the risk and manage the symptoms of lymphoedema. Download the flyer here.


Professor Piller has provided access to his powerpoint presentation for those who could not attend the session. A pdf of his powerpoint presentation is available here.

Neil has also developed an interactive CD-ROM and DVD package to provide both patients and health professionals with information about the prevention, reduction and management of lymphoedema. The package is relevant for any patient with a limb swelling, patients who believe they are at risk of lymphoedema (either primary or secondary), medical specialists (surgeons and radiation and medical oncologists), family doctors/general practitioners, allied health care professionals and students. For more information please visit the Vital Essence website.

Further information about Neil's research can also be found here.