Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center maintains a robust lymphedema management program to help cancer patients manage and overcome this condition.
Lymphedema is a painful swelling that can occur when there is an interruption of normal lymphatic flow in the body.
The interruption can occur as a result from:
With normal lymphatic flow, the amount of fluid traveling to the arm/ leg area is the same as the amount of fluid leaving the area. When lymphedema occurs, the amount of fluid traveling to the area is more than the amount leaving because of damage to the body's lymphatic “transport system.” Lymphatic fluid is rich with protein and that protein can act as a magnet for swelling. The protein serves as a food source for infection, therefore, making it difficult to treat.
Following an evaluation by a certified lymphedema therapist, patients receive individualized therapy that may consist of:
Let your physician know if you develop signs of lymphedema and request a referral to the cancer center’s lymphedema therapist.