Although not every patient will develop lymphedema following their surgery and radiation, those that do develop it may have pain, discomfort, limit in their mobility, and reduced ability to complete physical tasks. It is encouraged to ask your doctor about risk of lymphedema from the procedure.
- Ask how many lymph nodes will be removed and their location to help gauge risk of lymphedema. The more lymph nodes that are removed, the higher risk for lymphedema.
- Ask for referral to lymphedema specialists. These specialists have received advance training in caring for patients with lymphedema. Many of them come from diverse backgrounds such as nursing, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
- Ask about ways to prevent edema. Some common risk factors include needle sticks, or blood pressure taken on the affected limb.
- Ask for more education about lymphedema. Your provider can provide you access to material on lymphedema specifically related to your procedure.