How To Prevent And Control Lymphedema
Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymph fluid that may cause swelling in a nearby limb such as an arm or a leg (and sometimes elsewhere in the body). When the lymph fluid is unable to drain, it remains in the soft tissue of the lymph node or area where infections can develop.
New medical techniques make lymphedema less likely to appear than previously. Still, it is advisable to do what you can to avoid lymphedema. It is uncomfortable and can also be unsightly.
Lymphedema can come and go. Once you experience it, it is likely to recur. There is no cure for lymphedema.
There are no scientific studies to show how lymphedema can be prevented. However, most experts agree that following the following basic guidelines from the American Cancer Society may lower your risk of developing lymphedema or delay its onset. For information about each guideline, click on the link.
- Try to avoid infection
- Try to avoid burns
- Try to avoid constriction
- Try to avoid muscle strain
- Try to avoid gaining weight
If you believe you have lymphedema, call your doctor immediately. The treatment he or she will recommend will be primarily based on the cause of the lymphedema. Untreated, the condition can result in permanent swelling.
For more information about Lymphedema, see the website of National Lymphedema Network at www.lymphnet.org or call 415.908.3681
NOTE: Lymphedema does not indicate that cancer has spread or returned.