Cancer survivors are especially susceptible to lymphedema. Lymphedema is swelling of a part or parts of the body caused by the accumulation of lymph fluid. It occurs if the lymphatic system is damaged or not functioning properly. While the limbs are typically involved, the face, neck, groin and abdomen may also be affected. Many develop the disorder following cancer therapy (particularly breast cancer where the lymph nodes are removed), but radiation, recurrent infections, injuries or surgery can also damage lymphatics.
CaSfA recently hosted three lymphedema specialists to present the highly informative presentation “All You Need to Know about Lymphedema”. These experts discussed and taught us about the lymphatic system and lymphedema. They presented ways to prevent lymphedema and treatment techniques including manual lymph drainage and compression. We also learned how exercise can help prevent lymphedema and tried some warm-up exercises that improve lymph flow.
For more information about lymphedema, National Lymphedema Network: http://www.lymphnet.org, 1-800-541-3259.