Prevalence of lymphoedema in the UK: focus on the southwest and West Midlands

Br J Community Nurs. 2016 Apr;Suppl:S6-14. doi: 10.12968/bjcn.2016.21.Sup4.S6.


The aim of this research study was to estimate the potential prevalence of lymphoedema and the causes for this prevalence within two regions in England. This study is one of the first to undertake such a comparison in England and complements existing studies. The study calculates a regional prevalence figure for the Southwest (SW) of 3.59:1000 and 2.29:1000 in the West Midlands (WM). The local variation in the regions is 0.98-8.81:1000 for SW and 0.78-15.3:1000 for WM. Patient diagnosis of primary lymphoedema was 1:5129 in the SW compared with 1:2763 in the WM. These figures have relevance to patient care when considering population needs in the commissioning of services and the effect of wider determinants of health. Recommendations consider the need for national policy and the availability of education and training. Further research is required in both regions to consider age and gender set against diagnosis. Despite raising additional questions, the study has offered an opportunity to explore the effect of lymphoedema within the chosen regions.

Keywords: diagnosis; health status disparities; individual care; lymphoedema; prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphedema / epidemiology*
  • Lymphedema / etiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology