|Scotland Forest. Photo by Dr. Guerra|
Lymphedema refers to "the build-up of fluid in soft body tissues when the lymph system is damaged or blocked". (See www.cancer.gov - National Cancer Institute). Symptoms in a breast cancer survivor include swelling and/or a heavy feeling in the arm, a tight feeling in the skin and trouble moving a joint in the arm. When a person is at increased risk for lymphedema, she always has to be thoughtful about physical activity involving that arm such as gardening, household chores and working out in a gym. Anything that will cause the build-up of lymph in the arm (e.g. cuts, scrapes, bug bites, heavy lifting, hot tubs), has to be monitored or avoided, in order to avoid the possibility of inflammation and lymphedema. Blood pressure checks and blood labs have to be done using the other arm.
Mainstream breast cancer treatment in its current form - the gift that keeps on giving.