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October 10, 2014 by C. Merritt Shaw, OTR/L, MLD/CDT

October means fall, football, pumpkin-spiced everything, and little ghouls. Somewhere along the way, the color pink also became associated with October.
Pink is a reminder — a reminder of breast cancer awareness, a reminder to celebrate more birthdays, a reminder to perform your self-exams, a reminder to see your doctor and get a mammogram. As we observe breast cancer awareness month, it is also important to be aware of one side effect of treatments for breast cancer … Lymphedema.
Lymphedema can happen when lymph nodes have been removed or radiated during the usual treatments for breast cancer. Lymphedema is prolonged swelling that builds up in the arm and chest wall. This swelling affects the immune system and waste removal from the tissues. There are other types of lymphedema, as well.
Signs of lymphedema include: feeling fullness in the limb, clothes may feel tight, limb feels heavy or painful, decreased movement, scratches/infections are difficult to heal and treat.
If you or someone you know has had any of these signs during or following breast cancer treatment, it is important to see your physician or oncologist to be diagnosed and referred to Springhill Outpatient Therapy where a Certified Lymphedema Therapist can develop a program to manage the condition on an individual basis.
Please call 340-0688, if you have any questions regarding Lymphedema or its treatment. Our therapist will be happy to help you.
C. Merritt Shaw, OTR/L, MLD/CDT
Occupational Therapist
Certified Lymphedema Therapist
Springhill Rehabilitation
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