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Lymphedema after Breast Cancer

Posted on September 22, 2020
Oydun Furches, OTR/L, CLT, with MHHS, places a compression sleeve on a patient to aid the lymph flow of a swollen limb. MHHS offers various treatment methods for patients diagnosed with Lymphedema.

While October is designated for Breast Cancer Awareness, it is important to also be aware of its side effects. Many of us know someone that has been affected by a type of cancer. For those fortunate enough to have their cancer treated, it’s crucial to remain aware of potential changes to your body.

One common condition that can occur following cancer treatment is Lymphedema. Symptoms of Lymphedema include swelling in an arm or a leg and skin problems such as rashes, wounds and infections.

People can be born with Lymphedema, however most cases occur after a lymph node is removed, for example as means to prevent cancer from spreading. Lymph nodes carry fluid, nutrients and waste material between the body tissues and the bloodstream. When removed, the lymph system is at risk of not functioning properly and fluid can build up around an area of the body effected.

Although there is no cure for Lymphedema, it can be effectively managed. Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System now offers a premiere Lymphedema management service to the community. Having the only certified Lymphedema Therapists in Morristown, MHHS uses Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) to treat issues associated with Lymphedema.

The program is catered to the needs to each patient. Treatment can include a technique called Manual Lymphatic Drainage that helps get the lymph flow away from the swollen area. Compression Therapy can also be used to reduce swelling and prevent re-accumulation of fluid in the swollen limb. The program also assists with skin care, exercise and diet routines to help counteract Lymphedema symptoms.

It’s estimated that 2.5 million people in America are diagnosed with Lymphedema. Swelling and other symptoms can progress slowly, so it is important not to go untreated. MHHS can be the support system you or your loved one needs to overcome this condition. Patients are accepted by referral only. Visit your primary care physician if symptoms are present to get the help you need.