Q. I definitely want to avoid lymphedema. Is there anything I can do to ward it off, or is lymphedema totally random? A. The very best thing you can do to help prevent lymphedema is to make sure you get full range of motion back in your arm, whether after surgery or radiation. Favoring the arm on your affected side, hunching your shoulder protectively, being too stiff to stretch your arm up over your head and around towards your back–these are all things that will make it easier for lymphedema to gain a foothold. I have a friend who’s a physical therapist specializing in lymphedema treatment. In fact, we became close as she gave me daily massages to relieve my own swollen arm. (Just as getting a tummy tuck is the silver lining of a tram flap reconstruction, a daily massage is the big plus of having lymphedema!) This friend says that women who’ve had surgery, particularly a mastectomy with lymph node removal (even if just a single node) need physical thera...
Biopsy - lymph nodes; Open lymph node biopsy; Fine needle aspiration biopsy; Sentinel lymph node biopsy
Carlson RW, Allred DC, Anderson BO, Burstein HJ, Carter WB, Edge SB, et al. Breast cancer. Clinical practice guidelines in oncology. J Natl Compr Canc Netw . 2009;7:122-192.
Clinical practice guideline for melanoma: NCCN Medical Practice Guidelines and Oncology; V.2.2010. Available online.
When skin cancer spreads from the original location to other areas in your body, it travels through the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are located throughout your body and work to help fight infections and filter out toxins from your bloodstream. When cancer reaches the lymph nodes, it can grow there, causing the cancer to be spread to other areas in your body. Because of this, doctors often perform a lymph node biopsy on the lymph nodes closest to the cancer. If cancer is found, those lymph nodes are removed .
Lymphoseek is a radioactive substance that is injected into the original tumor site. It is manufactured by Navidea Biopharmaceuticals. Once it is injected, hand-held gamma counter can be used to determine if the substance has traveled to the lymph nodes. This allows doctors to accurately determine if lymph nodes, and which ones, need to be removed. In 2013, Lymphoseek was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used for melanoma and breast cancer. In...
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