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lymphedema or secandary cancer

My mother had undergone a surgery for breast (right)removal in 2000 .But only after the surgery we realised that it was not cancer but a fibroid.(We have the test reports) and now after 10 years my  mom's right hand got swollen and it is double the size of left hand.she is having a heavy sensation in the hands,numbness and pain. .A doctor said that  the x ray reports show lot of infections and this might be a secondary cancer(she had a fever last week Is the infections becuse of that?) .She is comletely ok except this swollen hand. but the doctors make my mom tensed by saying that this might be  again cancer .But she didnt had a cancer first time .It was our fault that we did the breast removal without much tests.We dont actually know which dept of doctor we must consult now.we are totally confused and tensed.Is my mom having cancer or is it lymphedema??I am posting this with lot of hope.please help me.sairam
1 Responses
962875 tn?1314213636
I am sorry to hear all your mother has gone through, especially since  you have test results showing she didn't have cancer to begin with! (Did you obtain a copy of the pathology report from her mastectomy?)

Lymphedema is often treated by physical therapists or massage therapists with specialized training in decongestive message therapy.

Infection can either contibute to the deveoplment of lymphedema or be a result of it.

I will copy below some information about it from a Canadian study:
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Lymph is a fluid, found between the body's cells, that is carried by the lymphatic system through nodes. Unlike blood, it has no central pump, but moves due to muscle action. Under ideal conditions, the fluid feeds cells and carries away excess waste and cancer cells, says the palliative care physician.

But when damaged, the system doesn't drain well and any inflammation causes even more to build up.

"We're doing a large Canadian study now following women who've had breast cancer. We're only halfway through; the study goes from 2005 to 2015, and already we're showing 17 per cent have lymphedema.

"It can appear immediately after treatment or years later, after an injury - a suntan, an infection from an insect sting, even air travel," Towers says. "Inflammation exacerbates the problem."

Untreated, lymphedema can lead to disability, loss of function, job loss and early death.

Forty per cent of patients with the condition develop complications ranging from infection to blood clots, says Towers, associate professor in McGill's oncology department and former director of its palliative care division. She is advocating across the country for better research, care and medical treatment.
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This study is in regard to breast cancer, but lymphedema can also occur following surgery, injury, etc., --or for no known reason.

Best wishes to both you and your mother...

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