Lymphedema & Breast Cancer
There are more than 2.4 million breast cancer survivors in the US with approximately 189,000 new breast cancer diagnoses every year. One common and feared negative side effect of breast cancer treatment is lymphedema.
Breast Cancer Surgery
The goal of curative breast cancer treatment is to remove all cancer cells from the body. These treatments generally include surgery, radiotherapy and various drug therapies. The two types of curative therapies most closely linked to lymphedema risk are surgery and radiotherapy (commonly known as radiation). As the number of lymph nodes surgically removed increases, so does the likelihood that the survivor will develop lymphedema.
A surgical procedure called sentinel lymph node biopsy has decreased the incidence of lymphedema compared with the full axillary dissections, because fewer nodes are removed with this approach. There is evidence that risk of lymphedema maybe increased by as much as 48% among women who undergo radiotherapy.
Lymphedema after breast cancer treatment
Lymphedema is characterized by swelling of the hand, arm, breast or torso on the affected side. It is considered the most problematic and dreaded concern after treatment for breast cancer. Conservative estimates suggest that 20-30% of breast cancer survivors will experience lymphedema.
Physical changes with lymphedema are associated with skin changes, loss of sensation and limb function and pain of varying intensity and frequency. Breast cancer survivors find lymphedema more distressing than a mastectomy as it is less possible to hide the physical manifestation.
Breast Lymphedema will increase your risk of skin infection in that area. If you notice unusual redness, tenderness and swelling of the breast, please contact your physician.
If you experience above symptoms after lymphnode removal and/or radiation please contact your physician and find a lymphedema therapist immediately. Lymphedema does not go away on it’s own. It needs to be treated by an expert in lymphatic drainage.
Lymphatic Drainage of the breast
Swelling of the breast and underarm is often debilitating and painful. Lymphatic drainage of the breast is painless and will release your symptoms immediately.
We have a variety of bras and camisoles that will be helpful in containing the lymphedema in the chest/breast area.
Please call us, with any questions regarding lymphedema, lymphedema care and/or garment solutions.
Phone #303 803 0674
FAQ’s: Please refer to Lymphedema FAQ page
National Lymphedema Network:
Lymphedema Awareness Foundation:
Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization: