Breast Cancer Associated Lymphedema

Lymph Nodes

What is the lymphatic system?

lt is a network of lymph nodes and lymph vessels that collect and carry watery, clear lymph fluid throughout the body including the heart, much like the veins.

What is Lymphoedema of the arm?

Lymphoedema is the build-up of lymph fluid in a part of your body.

During surgery or radiotherapy for breast cancer, lymph nodes and lymph vessels are removed or damaged.

This affects the flow of lymph fluid from that side of the body, causing that part of the body to swell.

What should I look for?

·               Swelling in breast, arm or hand which initially reduces by resting or braising arm.

·               Part of your body feels full or heavy.

·               Skin colour changes.

·               Skin feels tight or hard.

·               New aching, tingling or discomfort in the area.

·               Less movement or flexibility in joints.

·               Trouble fitting into blouse arms or buttoning blouse or chudidhar.

·               Bra does not fit the same.

·               Ring, watch or bangle does not fit well.

Air Travel

If you are planning travel by air, make sure to:

–              Move around.

–              Exercise at-risk body part.

–              Maintain good hydration.

–              Wear prophylactic compression stockings

When do I call a doctor?

·               New rashes or skin breaks that don’t heal.

·               Feeling of tightness in arm.

·               Rings or shoes are tighter.

·               Weakness of arm.

·               Pain in arm.

·               Sudden increase in size of arm with pain.

Treatment

·               Manual lymphatic drainage.

·               Compression bandaging/stockings.

·               Arm exercise.

·               Maintain healthy body weight.

·               Total body care.

Bandaging

·               How long is it to be applied?

12—hours in a day. Can be taken off prior to sleeping.

·               Can I do regular work?

                Yes, while making sure all precautions mentioned are taken.

·               Who should do the dressing every day?

                The same caregiver every day.

Next Article:- Breast cancer awareness in October

Published by Dhyan

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