If your lymph nodes were removed during breast cancer surgery or damaged during radiation treatments, you may be at risk for lymphedema. Lymphedema occurs when lymph fluid cannot circulate normally and builds up in the arm, breast, or hand, causing swelling and pain. About 20 percent of women experience lymphedema as a side effect of breast cancer treatment, including many members of MyBCTeam. Among those who develop the painful condition, approximately 90 percent do so within three years after the completion of breast cancer treatment. One MyBCTeam member reported symptoms of lymphedema nine months after undergoing lumpectomy and radiation.
Lymphedema (Swelling) After Breast Cancer Treatment
Breast Cancer: Lymphedema After Treatment | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Lymphedema refers to swelling that generally occurs in one of your arms or legs. Sometimes both arms or both legs swell. Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. It results from a blockage in your lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. The blockage prevents lymph fluid from draining well, and the fluid buildup leads to swelling.
Lymphedema (PDQ®)–Patient Version
Lymphedema occurs when the lymph system is damaged or blocked. Fluid builds up in soft body tissues and causes swelling. It is a common problem that may be caused by cancer and cancer treatment. Lymphedema usually affects an arm or leg, but it can also affect other parts of the body. Lymphedema can cause long-term physical, psychological , and social problems for patients.
Please understand that our phone lines must be clear for urgent medical care needs. When this changes, we will update this web site. Please know that our vaccine supply is extremely small. Lymphedema is a problem that may occur after cancer surgery when lymph nodes are removed.