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Lymphedema

Also called: Lymphatic obstruction

Summary

Lymphedema is the name of a type of swelling. It happens when lymph builds up in your body's soft tissues. Lymph is a fluid that contains white blood cells that defend against germs. It can build up when the lymph system is damaged or blocked. It usually happens in the arms or legs.

Causes of lymphedema include

  • Infection
  • Cancer
  • Scar tissue from radiation therapy or surgical removal of lymph nodes
  • Inherited conditions in which lymph nodes or vessels are absent or abnormal

Treatment can help control symptoms. It includes exercise, compression devices, skin care, and massage.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Start Here

  • (Living Beyond Breast Cancer) - PDF
  • (Lymphatic Education & Research Network)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (National Lymphedema Network)

Treatments and Therapies

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in

Living With

  • (American Cancer Society) Also in

Related Issues

  • (National Lymphedema Network)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (National Lymphedema Network)

Specifics

  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • (National Lymphedema Network)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in

Women

  • (American Cancer Society) Also in

Patient Handouts

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