WHAT IS LYMPHADEMA?
The Lymphatic system is a network of vessels and nodes that run parallel to the blood vessels and maintain fluid volumes and help to fight disease.
Lymphedema can be congenital (Primary) or acquired (Secondary). Most secondary lymphedema is caused by cancer or its treatments but can also result from other forms of damage or trauma to the lymphatic system.
Lymphedema is a protein rich fluid buildup. Due to high levels of protein with poor fluid movement these patents are at higher risk for bacterial grown or developing infections.
Lymphedema can occur after any treatment that affects the lymph node drainage and can occur within a few days or up to 30 years after of breast cancer.
80% of cancer survivors have the onset of lymphedema within 3 years.
Lymphedema is a condition that currently has no cure, but rather is improved by reduction of fluid, protection of limb and management of the symptoms.
Lymphedema is typically characterized as non-pitting edema that does not improve with elevation and marked skin changes such as hyperkeratosis which is a thick callus from an overgrown of skin and papillomas which are raised growths.