Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts," As a breast cancer survivor, I have always been told to not have blood pressures, finger sticks, or blood draws on the arm on the side of my mastectomy. I can understand not doing it for a certain amount of time, to allow time for healing. However, is that for the rest of my life, or is there a set time after the surgery that the arm may be used?
Lymphedema is the swelling of the soft tissues caused by a build-up of lymph fluid. The swelling can be accompanied by pain, tightness, numbness, and sometimes infection. Lymphedema can happen days, months, or years following breast cancer treatment and can be temporary or permanent.
Pain after major surgery is to be expected, but pain persisting beyond the normal healing period is considered chronic. Post-mastectomy pain syndrome PMPS is a type of chronic pain that occurs after breast cancer surgeries such as mastectomy, lumpectomy and axillary lymph node dissection, which involves removing lymph nodes in the underarm region. Pain from PMPS has been described as a burning sensation; a shooting, stabbing pain; or a throbbing, aching or oppressing pain.
Skip to Content. To help doctors give their patients the best possible care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology ASCO provides recommendations on sentinel lymph node biopsy for people with early-stage breast cancer. This guide for patients is based on the most recent recommendations. Breast cancer begins when normal cells in the breast change and grow out of control, forming a mass called a tumor.
Sentinel lymph node biopsy often is performed before or during breast cancer surgery to help figure out if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. The first step in sentinel lymph node biopsy is injecting a dye or radioactive tracer liquid or both into the nipple area. If you're awake during the procedure, this injection can be painful.
This information describes how to prevent infection and reduce swelling in your hand and arm after your axillary lymph node dissection surgery. Your lymphatic system is made up of lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels, and lymphatic fluid see Figure 1. Axillary lymph nodes are a group of nodes in your armpit that drain the lymph fluid from your breast and arm.
Lymphedema is a problem that may occur after cancer surgery when lymph nodes are removed. Lymphedema can occur months or years after treatment. But steps can be taken to help keep it from starting, and to reduce or relieve symptoms.
There is a risk of problems or complications after any operation. To prevent blood clots, your nurses get you up as soon as possible after your operation. They encourage you to move around or do your leg exercises.
If you're struggling to find what you need, call our Support line on 7 days a week, 8am-8pm. Surgery and radiotherapy to the breast can cause changes in sensation and movement in the treated area, arm and shoulder. Treatments can also affect the appearance of the breast or cause swelling of the arm.