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Tuesday, 25 October 2011 20:54

Breast Cancer and Limb Swelling

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When the lymphatic system in your body becomes compromised it is unable to pump lymph fluid which contains lipids proteins and waste products from the tissue. When this happens a person will experience swelling in one or more extremities, which has resulted in the body’s inability to pump circulate the fluid properly.

Many times this occurs when a patient has under gone surgical intervention or trauma to the areas of surgery, cancer, or tumors, which often can result in damage to the Lymphatic system. Lymph nodes are a common passageway for carcinogenic cells and often must be removed in whole or in part once cancer has begun to distribute itself throughout the system. For example, a left breast Mastectomy often results in swelling of the left arm. Any swelling in the limbs what so ever is often indicative of an overloaded lymphatic system.

The problem is that the Lymph nodes serve several critical bodily functions, without which, life threatening situations can develop.

The Lymphatic system is often referred to as the garbage hauler of the system and less nodes means less sewer drains and makes it easier for the system to back up. Worse yet, this condition is often misdiagnosed as water retention and the patient has been given diuretics (water pills) as remedy. Can you imagine trying to fix a clogged sewer pipe by removing just the water? Guess what happens, concentrated waste builds up in the tissues. A possible end result is commonly referred to as Lymphema, or in this case, the well recognized “post mastectomy Lymphedema.” Needless to say, removing the wastes’ only means of transport is not the likely answer.

This condition may have existed for years but a trigger such as the cabin pressurization in a plane flight or sunburn has caused the system to finally overload and the condition manifests itself.

What to do? Any swelling or slow wound healing situations should be seen by a specialized professional immediately. Always research your doctor in advance and find one that recognizes and understands the causative factors behind Lymphedema and how to treat it.

A common effective measure is the Lymphedema pump which massages the effected limb starting with the digits (fingers for example) and squeezes consecutive chambers until the sleeve is completely pressurized. Then the fluid is delivered back into the body for removal normally during urination after treatment. An initial 1 hour treatment often results in an immediate 5-12% reduction in limb volume, and potential regression of the condition if it has not progressed too far.

Acute Wound Care, LLC is a leading provider of wound healing modalities in Bonita Springs, Florida and works with select area physicians highly versed in this condition. For more information contact the experts at 239-949-4412.

Read 3919 times Last modified on Sunday, 14 February 2016 20:13
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