#017 – Lymphedema & Lymphatic System Intro – Part-1 – Dr. Paula Stewart

About This Episode:  

If you’ve been diagnosed with a disease or had a major injury, you may have heard your Doctor talk about their focus on your “lymph nodes.” But do you know much about the lymphatic system, and how important the flow of lymphatic fluid is in your body?

Lymphedema is a disease that could affect cancer patients or anybody that has sustained an injury that could disrupt our bodies’ lymphatic system. Because this amazing fluid collection system in our body operates so effectively, it’s only in times when our bodies are compromised and lymphatic fluids begin building up in affected areas that many of us learn of its existence.

Dr. Paula Stewart, President of the Lymphology Association of North America, joins the Our Cancer Journey Podcast in this Part-1 of a two-part interview for the program. In this first episode Host Bruce Watkins and Dr. Stuart discuss how the lymphatic system was discovered, what it is and how it works, and the way the lymphatic system keeps our body healthy.

Problems with the flow of lymphatic fluids can cause serious harm to our body, and people that have had surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and possibly immunotherapy to address an illness are at higher risk of developing the disease of Lymphedema. This episode and its Part-2 companion are important for all patients and their caregivers to hear, because the topic is difficult for medical professionals to explain, and it’s often times misunderstood by patients.  

Patients knowing the signs of lymphedema and seeking early intervention is critical to preventing the more serious effects of this disease. Host Bruce and Dr. Paula make a point to break down this complicated topic into very accessible and easy-to-understand concepts so everyone can benefit from this information.

Hear PART-2 of the interview with Dr. Stewart:

CLICK HERE to Hear Episode #018 – Lymphedema, How Lymphatics Work, and Effective Therapies- Part-2 – Dr. Paula Stewart


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SPECIAL Announcement:

As mentioned in this episode, outside of hosting the Our Cancer Journey Podcast, Host Bruce Watkins is a writer, a media producer, and a speaker. In one of his recent projects, Bruce was tapped to produce a long-form Lymphedema Education Video for the University of Cincinnati Cancer Center (UCCC) in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States. The University of Cincinnati, UCCC, and UC Health were kind enough to allow Bruce and the OCJ Podcast show to share this video with our listeners. Click Here to watch the UCCC Lymphedema Education Video.

References and Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Lymphology Association of North America website: https://www.clt-lana.org/

Books by Dr. Paula Stewart:

100 Questions & Answers About Lymphedema

Lymphedema Wellness Manual: The Interactive Lymphedema Management System for Patients and Therapists

Episode Guest: Paula JB Stewart MD

Paula JB Stewart MD, MS CLT-LANA graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Human

Biology and a Masters in Neurobiology. After graduating from Medical School at the University

of Minnesota in 1987, she completed her residency in PM&R at the Mayo Clinic in 1991. Dr. Stewart went on to establish one of the largest lymphedema clinics on the Eastern seaboard in Charlotte, NC at the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation where she served as the Research Director for 10 years, and eventually contributed to the Institute winning designation as a Model System for TBI for CIR.

In 1999, along with Dr. Joseph Feldman, Dr. Stewart participated in the founding of the Lymphology Association of North America (LANA), where she served in multiple leadership roles including Vice-President and eventually President of the Association. She has written multiple articles, co-authored books, and spoken nationally and internationally on the topic of lymphedema. Throughout this advocacy work, she has also held positions as a treating physician at clinics and medical centers in various locations.  

Episode Host: Bruce Watkins

A Father, Cancer survivor, producer, podcaster, writer & content creator, speaker, voice-over artist, facilitator/moderator, avid traveler, cultural explorer, humanitarian, giving-back & minimalist evangelist, music enthusiast, former Corporate people leader, and curious soul who transformed into an unapologetically optimistic and unpretentious advocate of Life-Optimization for all. 

After surviving cancer and other life-changing experiences in 2017, Bruce gave away most of his possessions, left his home behind, and began traveling, writing, volunteering, and giving back. 



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