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Lymphoedema and breast cancer

Many breast cancer patients will also suffer from lymphoedema.

It is common for women to develop lymphoedema of the arm on the side of the breast cancer. A specialist procedure can be used to treat the lymphoedema and reconstruct the affected breast simultaneously.

Why might you need treatment for lymphoedema and breast cancer?

Lymphoedema is a chronic condition causing swelling in the body’s tissues, usually occurring in the arms or legs. It is important to diagnose and treat lymphoedema as soon as possible as it can get worse if left untreated.

Secondary lymphoedema occurs in around 2 in 10 women with breast cancer.

What are the benefits of treatment for lymphoedema and breast cancer?

Secondary lymphoedema occurring as a result of breast cancer can cause further health problems if left untreated.

Some of the benefits of treatment include:

  • Reducing the effects of lymphoedema
  • Simultaneous treatment for breast cancer and lymphoedema
  • Early diagnosis can aid treatment

What does treatment for lymphoedema and breast cancer involve?

Although there is no cure for lymphoedema, it is possible to control the symptoms.

For women suffering from secondary lymphoedema as a result of breast cancer, it is possible to have an operation to treat the lymphoedema while reconstructing the breast after a mastectomy. The breast reconstruction can be combined with the restoration of removed axillary lymph nodes using vascularized lymph node transfer (LNT) from the groin.

Complications of this procedure include:

  • Cellulitis
  • Risk of infection
  • Issues to do with the reconstructed breast

Recovery Time

Recovery time will vary dependent upon your individual case and the specific type of procedure required. However, you should expect to remain in hospital overnight and be off work for a week.

Treatment Cost

Treatment costs will vary according to your unique needs. The full pricing options will be discussed with you during your initial consultation.

We’d be delighted if you wanted to arrange a consultation with us. Please call the Helpline on 0800 917 4922 for free and professional advice or submit a contact form here for more information.

To make a fully informed decision, click this link for a guide on what to consider before making a decision.


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