Monday, 6 March 2017

Lymphoedema Awareness Week ~ World Lymphoedema Awareness Day ~ 6 March 2017

Over the next week we'll be sharing the experiences of some amazing women living with lymphoedema, but what exactly is lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema, pronounced lim-fo-dee-ma, is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes swelling and leads to pain and a loss of mobility. It usually affects the arms or legs, although, following breast cancer can affect the breast and trunk.

About 2 out of 10 people (20%) with breast cancer develop lymphoedema:

 This is because one function of the lymphatic system is to drain excess fluid from tissues and if the lymphatic system is disrupted or damaged as a result of surgery and/or radiotherapy, it can lose this ability and the excess fluid will cause the tissue to swell.

Swelling is a natural part of the healing process following surgery and usually settles down as you recover. Lymphoedema can develop soon after surgery or radiotherapy. But it can be triggered many years after treatment - the risk of developing lymphoedema is life-long where the lymph nodes have been removed or damaged.

There is no cure for lymphoedema, but symptoms can be controlled using a combination of different techniques, usually massage and compression garments but also taping. There are also things you can do to help prevent the condition getting worse, such as specially designed exercises, good skin care to avoid infection and having a healthy diet and lifestyle.

No comments: