A HOSPICE will be providing a support service to those living with lymphoedema.

Barnsley Hospice, based on Church Street, Gawber, is providing a self-management and support service which helps treat symptoms and provides an opportunity for patients to meet others in a similar situation.

The hospice is promoting this to coincide with the national Lymphoedema Awareness Week which takes place this week.

Lymphoedema is a long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues. It can affect any part of the body, but usually develops in the arms or legs. It develops when the lymphatic system doesn’t work properly, which can be a side effect of cancer surgery.

Following a referral to the self-management and support service, the specialist team at Barnsley Hospice carry out an assessment and agree a treatment plan - which can include massage to drain fluid, compression, specific exercises and skin care.

Group sessions run every Monday from 9.30am to 12.30pm and one-to-one treatments are also available.

Heike Fraser, therapy team leader at Barnsley Hospice, runs the service with the support of lymphoedema specialist Sharon Schofield and lymphoedema healthcare assistant Dawn Jenkinson.

Heike said: “Lymphoedema is much more than a bit of swelling and there’s a lack of awareness about it in general. As far as we know, this is the only specialist service of its kind in Barnsley for patients with cancer and non-cancer related lymphoedema.

“Not everyone comes to the sessions for treatment; many come for the conversations. People seem to really benefit from that peer support. Lymphoedema is incurable but we try and bring patients to the best manageable level and empower them to self-manage their condition.”