There are some interventions that can include elevation and compression or a firm bandage or sleeve but that too has to be properly done /fitted. Massage may also become a part of the routine to decompress the affected area. Knowing the signs and symptoms are important as well including swelling of parto of your arm or entire arm including fingers. There may be heaviness or tightness to your arm, pain or discomfort, hardening or thickening of you skin on your arm, and or recurrent infections.
We all need to be on the look out as previously stated, it can happen any time. This edema that we see develop after dissection of the lymph node is due to impairment in the transport system of the lympatics and fluid collects in tissue in the affected area. Lymphedema is incurable but treatable. We also need to promote surveillance, education, physical support and rehab for patients at risk for lymphedema. There are also risk reduction practices that a patient should be taught and so there is much to be addressed. Many patients are so engulfed in the treatment of their breast cancer that lymphedema is a word that just doesn't register and when it does is usually when they are experiencing it. There are many what's, if's, how's, and when's that we are working on and each day brings more to the forefront and each day we should be proactive as healthcare professionals and also as patients in learning and developing lymphedema programs.
Make it a great day! S