What is more dangerous: developing a diabetic foot ulcer or a cancer diagnosis?
While the immediate answer would seem to be cancer a study from the American Podiatric Medical Association reports that about half of the patients with a foot ulcer will die within five years. Foot ulcers that are poorly treated may lead to amputation. In cases of a lower leg amputation the rate of death within five years increases to 74 percent.
The rate of death for patients with a diabetic foot ulcer or lower leg amputation significantly outpaces the death rates for both prostrate and breast cancer. The general public knows about and fears cancer. Breast cancer is the cause of many different high profile organizations including. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which organizes demonstrations and walks around the country.
Have you ever heard of a wound care walk? One of the conclusions of the American Podiatric report is that wound care clinicians need to communicate the risk associated with diabetic ulcers at the initial diagnosis. Patients need to be able to make informed decisions about their care going forward and to take a more active role in the management of their health.
Wound care often provides raw visuals that the media or general public would rather ignore, but for wound care clinicians or patients the seriousness of the condition must be communicated.