A machine that sends an electrical signal through the body to test for the amount of fluid in cancer patients could soon be available on the Mid North Coast.
While the device has specific benefits to lymphedema patients, it can also be used to produce data for other cancer-related diseases.
The Mid North Coast Cancer Institute was successful in gaining a Hastings Cancer Trust grant to partially cover the cost of the SOZO Bis Device, however, additional funding is required to fully fund the equipment.Mid North Coast Cancer Institute lymphedema nurse specialist Heidi Hughes says the purchase of the SOZO will streamline the patient process, provide more useable data, raise awareness of lymphedema and be more widely available for use within the institute."The SOZO is used to measure fluid within the limbs, providing data that will help to diagnose and assess lymphedema, which is a medical condition secondary to cancer treatment," she said."We currently use an older version of the device here but the new one is a more modern design that is easier and quicker to use. It also provides more information."The benefit of this machine is that we can pick up lymphedema before it becomes a chronic problem."Ms Hughes said early detection was important in the ongoing treatment of a patient.
If we pick up lymphedema early enough we are better positioned to reverse it and, potentially, stop it from developing into that chronic issue.
Heidi Hughes"If we pick up lymphedema early enough we are better positioned to reverse it and, potentially, stop it from developing into that chronic issue," she added.
But the device can also assist patients that are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy with early benchmarking helping in the cancer treatment phase.
Surgeons will also be able to refer patients for pre-surgery assessments.
Ms Hughes said the new piece of equipment would help a high proportion of patients including those suffering from breast cancer, melanoma, gynaecological and prostate cancers and other skin cancers."As well, the additional data on body composition analysis will aid dieticians and other specialists to better assist in the on-going treatment of the patient," she said."They will be able to monitor in a visual form how a patient's weight or muscle mass is increasing or decreasing in accordance with their treatment."This all helps in the overall treatment of the patient."The Cancer Institute will trade in the old device once additional funding from within the community has been secured to offset the overall cost of the SOZO.
It is hoped the new machine can be on-site by the New Year.
Ms Hughes wanted to thank the Hastings Cancer Trust for the donation.
Thank Port News Peter Daniels for the story