Breast Cancer and Lymphedema. Is There a Relationship?

Breast Cancer and Lymphedema. Is There a Relationship?

By Edely Wallace

breast cancer and lymphedema swelling

We all have cancer cells running throughout our bodies. Every day we have about 30 cancer cells growing or traveling inside the body. The Lymphatic System (LS) is in charge of getting rid of them or neutralizing them.

When the Lymphatic System is thriving and flowing properly, its defense mechanisms are in top shape! It’s the mighty lymphatic system working! However, when this system is sluggish, the lymph fluid and nodes retain toxins and the lymphatic system easily becomes clogged. The immune efficiency of the system becomes greatly reduced. In this opportunistic condition, cancer cells can thrive! Now, cancer cells rather them being neutralized can multiply randomly.

So, a clogged lymphatic system is instrumental in cancer development.

Can a Clogged Lymphatic System Cause Cancer?

Imagine now, a clogged lymphatic system pressed on by wired bras, influenced by hormones imbalances, daily stress, and sedentary life. Sure, you guessed it! This is a perfect mix for breast cancer to show up.

The second cause of death in the US is breast cancer. Right now, over three million women – among them our sisters, friends, family, and neighbors – are fighting breast cancer.

My sister is a brave breast cancer survivor for over 15 years. She had had surgery with lymph nodes removed and went through radiation, hair loss, nausea, fatigue and all paraphernalia that comes along with cancer therapy.

Most women affected by this disease, also travel the same infamous road of cancer recovery.

However, fewer women know that this traumatic and sad story may not end here.

Cancer Survivors are at Risk for Lymphedema

Cancer survivors who had lymph nodes removed and/or radiation therapy are “at risk” for Lymphedema. Their chance for developing this serious disease is greatly increased after the cancer therapy, which usually follows the removal of lymph nodes.

Lymphedema is an abnormal swelling caused by lymph fluid build up in body parts. It is a chronic, progressive and incurable disease triggered by an impaired Lymphatic System.

Lymphedema of the arm and upper trunk is the most common complication after breast cancer treatment.

The road to lymphedema begins with an impaired lymphatic system, which is unable to properly drain the lymph fluid. So, the lymph fluid pools in parts of the body and it becomes stagnant. When stagnant, the protein content of the lymph begins to harden. So, fibrotic tissue shows up. Protein molecules will also attract more water to the already swollen area. Left untreated, skin bursts and inflammation increases, which leads to constant infections. The body part affected swells, even more, it loses its natural shape, gradually hardens and loses function. Over the years, if untreated lymphedema spreads to other body parts.

Usually, lymphedema develops slowly. It’s almost undetectable for years. It’s an insidious disease that can start immediately, months or even years after undergoing breast cancer therapy. Its onset is mostly unpredictable.

The detection, gravity, development, and problems caused by lymphedema are poorly understood by our medical community. Though this condition affects about 3 million Americans. Insurance companies in the US don’t pay for the lifetime treatment lymphedema requires.

Lymphedema – A Condition Poorly Understood By Healthcare Professionals

So, lymphedema is almost an underground disease. Doctors are not trained on how to treat this disease. Very few people know about it.  Doctors and medical insurance companies ignore it. Lymphedema sufferers have a tendency to hide it and become recluse at their homes.

Today, because of this lack of information, lots of people needlessly have a devastating incurable disease. However, with some information and certain precautions, lymphedema can be avoided or managed if developed.

Lymphatic Yoga® can prevent this condition with early intervention. Lymphatic Yoga® can also help manage lymphedema, avoiding its normal progression and devastating lifestyle conditions.

Lymphedema after breast cancer should not be feared provided precautions are taken.

After breast cancer, Lymphatic Yoga® can assist in the prevention or management of this poorly understood common condition.

Be tuned for the sequence of this article.

Copyright- Edely Wallace

 

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