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Lymphedema Program Receives Elite Honor

November 11, 2022

The University of Kansas Cancer Center lymphedema program was recently named a Comprehensive Center of Excellence in the diagnosis and treatment of lymphatic disease.

The designation, which is presented by the global oversight committee for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RD), is an elite honor that has only been presented to 4 centers in the nation. LE&RN – an internationally recognized, nonprofit organization – was created to fight lymphatic diseases and lymphedema through education, research and advocacy.

In addition to outstanding and coordinated clinical and social services, centers of excellence must provide professional and lay education in the geographic areas they serve. They must be involved in clinical research and work with LE&RN on efforts to improve the lives of those affected by lymphatic disease and their families.

The University of Kansas Cancer Center is the only facility in the area, and one of a few in the country, with a comprehensive lymphedema program focused not only on lymphedema treatment, but also on surveillance and prevention. Every breast cancer patient sees a lymphedema clinician for education, measurements and prospective monitoring. The program’s co-directors are breast surgeon Lyndsey Kilgore, MD, and plastic surgeon James Butterworth, MD.

“The designation comes as a recognition of the many years of effort that has gone into building a lymphedema program from scratch,” Dr. Butterworth says. “This has included development of lymphedema specialists, surgeons, physicians, support personnel and the required programs needed to best treat the evolving lymphedema needs of our patients.”

He adds: “As the regional tertiary care center, we felt it was necessary to create and mature the lymphedema services into a comprehensive and sophisticated network to provide care for this often-overlooked population. We hope, through ongoing programmatic development, research initiatives, education and information dissemination, that no patient will be left feeling helpless with no one to turn to for compassionate care of this challenging condition.”

“It is truly an honor to receive this official designation as it recognizes the comprehensive lymphedema care that we knew we had been providing our patients for years,” Dr. Kilgore says. “As we continue to grow and enhance the already incredible program, I want to thank all those on our team who contribute to its success on a daily basis and thank those who have helped it get to this point, particularly Dr. (Jamie) Wagner, Dr. Butterworth and Sabrina Korentager. The University of Kansas Cancer Center is an incredible NCI-designated comprehensive cancer program, and this is yet another way we truly are comprehensive.”

“Congratulations to Dr. Kilgore, Dr. Butterworth, the lymphedema nurse team, and the entire breast program for their dedication to patients and leading the field in this important survivorship diagnosis,” says Dr. Wagner, division chief, breast surgical oncology at The University of Kansas Cancer Center.

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