Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - Community Healthcare - 11

A Survivor's

MISSION
KATHY BATES is pressing for better diagnosis

and treatment for lymphedema, a common
but little-known effect of cancer BY MONIQUE CURET

PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES/STEFANIE KEENAN

F

or acclaimed actress
Kathy Bates, the events
that unfolded after her
treatment for breast
cancer were hauntingly familiar.
Her mother had undergone a radical mastectomy in the 1970s, and as
a result of the surgery, she developed
lymphedema. The condition causes
fluid accumulation and swelling-
usually in one part of the body-plus
changes in the skin, like hardening
and thickening. Bates watched as her
mother's lymphedema "defeated her
spirit," she said on The Dr. Oz Show.
So when Bates was diagnosed with
breast cancer and scheduled to undergo
a double mastectomy in 2012, she feared

the same thing would happen to her
after surgery: "I thought, I'm terrified.
I know I'm going to get it. My mother
got it, and I know I will," she said.
"And sure enough, I did."
Knowing what was coming did
not make her lymphedema diagnosis
any easier. After learning she had the
condition, "I went berserk, I went nuts,"
Bates told CBS News. "And for a long
time after that, I was really, really
angry. 'Cause I thought, great, now I
gotta deal with this."
Because lymphedema mostly affects
those who have had cancer, the focus in
the medical community has been on the
cancer itself, says William Repicci, executive director of the Lymphatic Education

& Research Network, known as LE&RN.
Lymphedema has been treated as a side
effect and is often relegated to medical
therapists-rather than physicians-to
handle. And despite the large number of
people who have lymphedema, it is not
a widely known condition.
Bates is trying to change that. The
actress serves as spokeswoman for
LE&RN, trading on her fame from
her high-profi le roles, including her
Oscar-winning turn in the 1990 movie
Misery as well as the more recent TV
hit American Horror Story. She is advocating for improved diagnosis and
treatment of the condition.
"People together in a group are very
strong," Bates said in an interview with

FALL 2017

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - Community Healthcare

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - Community Healthcare - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - Community Healthcare - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - Community Healthcare - Contents
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Vim & Vigor - Fall 2017 - Community Healthcare - Cover3
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