Breast Cancer patients have access to fast test for lymphoedema


Breast cancer patients at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital now have access to early detection testing for lymphoedema with the introduction of the SOZO machine. This is a non-invasive method taking less than one minute to administer.

Lymphoedema is a condition that can cause significant swelling due to build up of fluid in the tissue. It may develop in the arm, breast or chest regions when lymph nodes are treated with radiotherapy or surgically removed.

St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital Nurse Practitioner in Breast Oncology Natasha Keir says that not everyone who has treatment will develop lymphoedema.

“The goal is to detect it early, to avoid long term problems and allow early intervention and treatment,” Natasha said.

“When we can identify a patient’s risk of developing lymphoedema before it becomes visually apparent, we have a wonderful opportunity to treat, and in most cases reverse any swelling.

“With early detection, our specially trained women’s health physios and occupational therapists can implement interventions such as massage and compression.

“Developing lymphoedema of a limb can have a huge impact on a patient’s quality of life, mental and physical health,” she said.

The machine is considered best practice in lymphoedema detection and analysis and a valuable tool in a patient’s recovery program.

“We’re thrilled to have the machine as part of our service,” Natasha said.

The SOZO machine is the global leader in non invasive fluid and tissue analysis and plays an integral role in the early detection and monitoring of Lymphoedema. It uses Impedimed’s Bio-Impedence Spectroscopy (BIS) technology which enables the earliest detection of fluid accumulation and has been shown to reduce the incidence of clinical lymphoedema by almost 90%.

The use of the SOZO is an important part of the expert holistic care our breast cancer patients receive. The test provides a wealth of valuable information to enhance the individualised patient centred care we strive to give within our Breast Care service.