Lymphedema is a debilitating condition where excess fluid collects in tissues and causes swelling. Lymphedema may occur in the arms or legs and forms when the lymph system becomes blocked or damaged. Lymphedema can develop after any surgery or traumatic injury that caused damage to the lymphatic system. Lymphedema can also occur after surgery or radiation treatment of any type of cancer. Most often it occurs with breast cancer, prostate cancer, pelvic area cancers, lymphoma and melanoma.
There is no scientific study to show that Lymphedema can be prevented or cured. But, people with Lymphedema can take appropriate steps to manage their lymph systems so they can live normal, comfortable, active lives. In its earliest stages, compression garments are quite effective along with exercise and elevation of the affected area. If the condition progresses, physical or occupational therapists specializing in Lymphedema management can assist with an individualized treatment plan that includes massage, compression garments, exercise, and education so patients can manage the condition on their own. Lymphedema also makes the skin very vulnerable so it is important to take extra precautions with daily skin care and protection.
Dickinson Rehabilitation Services offers a Lymphedema Therapy program for more information contact Dickinson Rehabilitation Services.