Lymphedema is a medical condition characterized by swelling in the arms or legs, which usually occurs as a consequence of the removal or damaging of the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are an important part of the lymphatic and immune system, and it is where the most common type of blood cancer — lymphoma, develops. Lymphoma occurs when white blood cells called lymphocytes reproduce and enlarge abnormally — particularly the cells in the lymph nodes.
Lymphedema and lymphoma are related since lymphedema occurs mostly in patients who are receiving cancer treatment. The treatments used for lymphoma can block the lymphatic system, disabling the normal draining of the lymph fluid. Since the fluid accumulates in body’s soft tissue, the limbs can swell. Despite the fact that there is no cure for lymphedema, it can be treated when diagnosed early in order to reduce damage to the affected limb.
In this Compton Hospice video, learn more lymphedema.
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