(HealthDay News) — Home therapy for cancer-related lymphedema reduces the cost of treating the condition, according to a new study published online Dec. 3 in PLOS ONE.

Researchers examined the home use of pneumatic compression devices to treat lymphedema. The Stanford team focused on pneumatic compression devices because it was the easiest therapy to track using health insurance data, not necessarily because it’s the best treatment, they said.

The average annual cost of care for a patient with lymphedema fell from $62,190 to $50,857 when the pneumatic compression devices were used at home. “Total health care costs for these patients are very high, but can be profoundly reduced with treatment intervention, in this case a compression device,” senior author Stanley Rockson, M.D., a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University, said in a university news release.

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“Cancer rates are expected to continue increasing at significant rates for the next 20 years. We can expect to see corresponding increasing rates of lymphedema,” Rockson said. “The potential public health implications of these findings are substantial. As the American population ages and lymphedema rates increase, effective home therapies are likely to become increasingly important.”

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