Melissa  Skolny, MSHA, Cynthia Miller; Lauren Jammallo; Jean O'Toole, PT, MPH; and Michelle Specht, MD, Mass General Lymphedema Screening Team

Melissa Skolny, MSHA, Cynthia Miller; Lauren Jammallo; Jean O'Toole, PT, MPH; and Michelle Specht, MD, Mass General Lymphedema Screening Team

2013 Honoree

Group

Despite improvements in breast cancer therapy that decrease treatment-related morbidities, lymphedema still remains a large concern for breast cancer survivors. An abnormal collection of protein-rich fluid in the interstitial tissues, this distressing condition has an adverse effect on many patients’ quality of life.

Symptoms include pain, stiffness, loss of function and increased risk of infection or cellulitis that often results in hospitalization. After completing breast cancer treatment, patients face the lifelong risk of developing lymphedema.

Through an NIH-funded study, the Lymphedema Screening Team at the Mass General Cancer Center has developed a pioneering model that includes screening and early intervention clinical trials and, based on these results, generated a unique dataset on lymphedema. They have presented these findings at national and international conferences.

On the clinical front, the team has screened more than 2,600 patients over the past five years, and numerous cancer treatment centers have applied to adopt their innovative model and participate in the trials, which now extend to three other hospitals.

Each team member brings extraordinary talent and personal dedication to this endeavor. The team is comprised of Melissa Skolny, MSHA, Cynthia Miller; Lauren Jammallo; Jean O’Toole, PT, MPH; and Michelle Specht, MD. Their groundbreaking work will significantly improve the quality of life of patients after completing treatment for breast cancer.

- Alphonse G. Taghian, MD, Chief, Breast Radiation Oncology, and co-director of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Mass General Cancer Center

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