Once diagnosed with lymphedema a patient must deal with the condition for life. As a chronic ailment it requires constant care and maintenance to ensure a comfortable and healthy lifestyle. The condition is caused by radiation therapy and cancer treatments which affect the lymph nodes in our body. It is most common in breast cancer survivors but also has a high degree of incidence with other forms of cancer. In forms of cancer other than breast cancer the lymphedema may be confined to the lower extremities.
Arm lymphedema is prevalent among breast cancer survivors because of the localized damage done to the lymph nodes during breast cancer treatments and surgery. When the lymphatic system is damaged in this way fluid flow in the body is restricted or blocked. Once this occurs it is irreversible and must be managed for life. The best way to avoid the problem of lymphedema is to learn how to reduce the risk beforehand (see earlier posts for tips). Early diagnosis can also help in preventing the condition from becoming serious enough to affect daily life.