Lymphedema is a possible side effect of breast cancer surgery and radiation therapy. It can present itself a few months or up to 20 years after treatment.
How are they connected?
Surgery and radiation therapy can compromise your lymph nodes and vessels that filter lymph. Over time, the compromised system will become overrun with backed up lymph, a protein-rich fluid. This process results in the development of Lymphedema.
It is important to be aware, as a breast cancer survivor, you are at great risk of developing lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a gradual swelling of the tissues and may not be noticed right away. It progressively gets worse the longer it goes untreated. The sooner you treat lymphedema the better.
If you suspect that you may be developing lymphedema be sure to consult a doctor that is familiar with this disease or a licensed lymphedema therapist right away!
It is important to address any of these symptoms right away. The sooner you treat lymphedema the better. Lymphedema gets progressively worse the longer it goes untreated.