For any woman who has undergone a mastectomy, you will know that finding proper garments that provide both comfort and support is sometimes hard to find.
Post surgery, when the incision is still sore, comfort is key. There will be drains to manage for a few days at home. After the drains have been removed, while the incision is healing, wearing a soft cotton mastectomy camisole is a great option. This camisole will have both drain management and a pocket(s) for an interim prosthesis.
These mastectomy camisoles are wonderfuly cozy under a sweater, shirt, or T-shirt providing practical coverage and function.
Lymphedema is a medical condition often caused by the removal of lymph nodes during a cancer surgery. For breast cancer survivors, this condition may occur in the arm and can cause swelling due to the reduction in lymphatic flow, which backs up the lymphatic fluid when under pressure. While permanent solutions for the pain or discomfort caused by Lymphedema do not exist, there are ways to cope and helpful products that provide some relief on a day-to-day basis.
To manage the swelling of Arm Lymphedema, patients may purchase a ready-to-wear armsleeve, or preferably a prescribed sleeve from a qualified lymphedema therapist. The sleeve provides compression to the swelling and is also a valuable when traveling by plane, as high altitudes can cause swelling to worsen. There are exercises you can do from home to help reduce swelling and a special massage, called a manual lymph drainage massage, which manually moves the fluid from where it has settled.
Research your options – there are many – because no one deserves to suffer.
Lymphedema is still not widely understood or acknowledged as a risk of cancer, especially breast cancer. There are guidelines for prevention if known beforehand. The sad thing is that once a person gets lymphedema, there is no cure. So, prevention is key.
So, what is Lymphedema. Here is an excellent video explaining exactly what lymphedema is.
A verbal definition of lymphedema, as stated by the National Lymphedema Network, is:
“Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial tissue that causes swelling, most often in the arm(s) and/or leg(s), and occasionally in other parts of the body. Lymphedema can develop when lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired (primary), or when lymph vessels are damaged or lymph nodes removed (secondary).
When the impairment becomes so great that the lymphatic fluid exceeds the lymphatic transport capacity, an abnormal amount of protein-rich fluid collects in the tissues of the affected area. Left untreated, this stagnant, protein-rich fluid not only causes tissue channels to increase in size and number, but also reduces oxygen availability in the transport system, interferes with wound healing, and provides a culture medium for bacteria that can result in lymphangitis (infection).”
Lymphedema can occur in the upper and lower extremities (arms and legs – and even torso). You are at risk if you have had surgery for cancer that involves removal of lymph nodes. For more detailed information, read the following books about Lymphedema.
Over the next few posts, I will be covering some the issues related to lymphedema and cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you have had to face the very real possibility of a mastectomy. And if you’ve actually undergone this surgery, you are certainly familiar with the ramifications of this procedure. Of course, health and personal well-being are the number one concern. However the loss of one or both of your breasts brings up issues of physical body balance, self-image, and self-esteem.
Fortunately, there are products to overcome some of these issues, including breast prosthesis. Breast prosthesis generally come in the form of a mastectomy bra, which can mask the loss of either one or both breasts. Women have responded positively to these products because they create a natural look, even under clinging clothing.