Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About lymphedema risk factors

As a breast cancer survivor, what is my risk of getting lymphedema?
Does radiation increase the risk of lymphedema?
If I have had lymph nodes removed under one arm, do I have to worry about the lymph nodes in other areas of my body?
Do I have to worry about this my whole life?
What about exercise after cancer surgery?
And what about exercise during radiation therapy?
Should I be using my arm (or leg) for everyday activities?
After surviving breast cancer surgery and chemotherapy, I’ve developed lymphedema. I'm angry that I have to go through the rest of my life with swelling, wearing a sleeve and restricting my activities. Is there anything you can suggest to help with that?
Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I led a very active lifestyle. Now I am nervous that my former activities could cause lymphedema to emerge. What do you advise?
Is lymphedema treated by an MD or by a therapist?
How do I find a therapist?
Will therapy be covered by insurance?
If my treatment is not successful, what can be done?
Where can I purchase lymphedema supplies (bandages and garments)?
Can anything be done for lymphedema of the breast?
When do you recommend that I see a lymphedema therapist?
Should I allow blood-drawing from my affected arm?
What about vaccinations? Acupuncture? Tattoos?
What about taking blood pressure in the arm?
What if both arms are at risk?
Should I wear protective gloves for work in the house and garden?
Do I need to worry about sunburn?
If I get a cut, a scratch or an insect bite on my arm, should I panic?
What about hot tubs and saunas?
What about sports massage?
How important is weight control for lymphedema?
Does exercise help?
What about weight-lifting?
Is smoking a risk factor for lymphedema?
Should I be measuring my arm regularly at home?
Should I get a compression sleeve even if I don’t have lymphedema?

Center for Lymphatic and Venous Disorders

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Center for Lymphatic and Venous Disorders
300 Pasteur Drive
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: 650-723-6459
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