Baptist Cancer Center offers a continuum of care throughout your cancer treatment. One such program we offer is the treatment of cancer-related lymphedema. Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich fluid that can develop in the head, neck, trunk, arms, or legs.
The removal of lymph nodes during the surgical treatment of head and neck, breast, prostate, or gynecologic cancers can lead to the development of lymphedema. It can also occur as a result of radiation to treat the above cancer sites, even if no lymph nodes have been removed.
Lymphedema can develop a few weeks after surgery - or many years after all cancer treatments are completed. Generally, the swelling associated with lymphedema is not sudden; it gradually accumulates over the course of several months.
Signs of lymphedema can include tight fitting rings or bracelets, shirt sleeves or pant legs that feel tight at the top, heaviness in the arm or leg, a feeling of pooling fluid or thickness under the arm, or a swollen sensation in the throat while trying to swallow or when laying down.
The current treatment for lymphedema is Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT), which is comprised of four parts:
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage, a soft skin stretch technique similar to a massage
- Skin care
- Compression bandaging of the affected limb
- Therapeutic exercises
Our certified lymphedema therapists are also certified to fit patients with appropriate compression garments once treatment is completed. Treatment is typically recommended five times per week for two to six weeks.
If you're experiencing symptoms of lymphedema, talk to your doctor about our lymphedema therapy program. We look forward to being of service to you throughout the course of your treatment.