Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Lymphedema:  Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options
by Elyn Jacobs
From The Truth About Cancer website
Below is an summary from the articleTo read the article in its entirety, click on the link below:

  • Lymphedema is a build-up of lymph fluid in the fatty tissues just under the skin.
  • Cancer tests & treatments that could possibly lead to lymphedema are:
    • Mastectomy
    • Lumpectomy
    • Lymph node removal or biopsy
    • Radiation treatment
    • Use of the drug Tamoxifen
  • Those at risk of developing lymphedema include:
    • Those who have lymph nodes removed and/or receive radiation therapy
    • Women who receive radiation therapy for ovarian or cervical cancer
    • Anyone receiving conventional treatment for head and neck cancer
  • Possible symptoms of lymphedema include:
    • Swelling on the affected side of the body/area
    • Clothing or jewelry may feel tight
    • Tightness/fullness in the arm or leg
    • Weakness or decreased flexibility in arm, hand, or leg
    • Tension pain or uncomfortable sensation
    • Skin that remains indented after finger pressure or skin that does not indent at all when pressed
    • Hardened, red, or shiny skin
    • Heavy feeling in the arm or leg
    • Infections that do not heal or that recur in the same area
    • Swelling of the eyelids, lips, or face (head and neck cancers)
    • Difficulty swallowing, breathing, or talking (head and neck cancers)
    • Other unusual occurrences in the affected area
  • 6 foundational lymphedema treatments:
    • Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
    • Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)
    • Acupuncture
    • Self-massage
    • Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)
    • Hydrotherapy
  • Last resort treatments include:
    • Microsurgery
    • Lymph node transplants
    • Compression pumps
    • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)
  • Ways to minimize lymphedema risks:
    • Wear gloves when gardening
    • Avoid sunburn and use non-toxic sunscreen
    • If receiving manicures bring your own tools, don’t cut your cuticles, and keep skin well moisturized
    • Avoid Jacuzzis, saunas, and hot baths
    • Avoid insect bites
    • Remind medical professionals to draw blood and place pressure cuffs only on the unaffected arm

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