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Lymphedema Program

Lymphedema is swelling in the arms or legs due to a blockage in your lymphatic system.  It is estimated that about one-third of women who undergo axillary lymph node dissection during breast cancer treatment will develop lymphedema.  While identifying and treating lymphedema early helps ensure faster and better outcomes, treatment during the chronic stages of the disease can still benefit the patient.

You are at greater risk for lymphedema if you:

  • Had surgical removal of lymph nodes in the underarm, groin, or pelvic region
  • Received radiation therapy to the underarm, groin, pelvic region, or neck
  • Have scar tissue in the lymphatic ducts, veins, or under the collarbones caused by surgery or radiation therapy
  • Have cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck, chest, underarm, pelvis, or abdomen
  • Have tumors in the pelvis, abdomen, or chest that involve or put pressure on the lymphatic vessels and/or the large lymphatic duct thereby blocking lymph drainage
  • Have inflammation of the arm or leg after surgery
  • Are older
  • Have an inadequate diet or are overweight, as these conditions may delay recovery from surgery and radiation therapy