Saskia R.J. Thiadens, RN, received her nursing degree from the University of Utrecht in Holland. After immigrating to the United States, she worked at Cornell University in NY. Ms. Thiadens founded and operated the first post-operative care facility in San Francisco and, at that time, became intrigued by a patient with lymphedema who had been told that nothing could be done for her swollen limb. Shortly after (July 1987), she opened the first lymphedema clinic in the U.S. (the Aurora Lymphedema Clinic) and treated over 6,000 lymphedema patients. In 1988, Ms. Thiadens founded the National Lymphedema Network, (NLN) an internationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and guidance to lymphedema patients, health care professionals, and the general public; as well promote research into the causes, prevention and treatment of lymphedema. Since then, she has been an active nurse/patient advocate, and has organized 11 successful international professional conferences on lymphedema and lymphatic disorders, and in Sept 2015 collaborated in the 25th World congress of Lymphology (WCOL) in San Francisco, which brought over 900 people from 39 countries together. She has been an oncology nurse for over 25 years, a member of the Oncology Nursing Society, and the founder of The Lymphedema Management Scientific Interest Group. She is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and key collaborator in various lymphedema studies.
In 2018 she created a Screening and Early detection program for cancer related lymphedema at Sutter Health, Cancer Center, CPMC in San Francisco.