Causes and Treatments for Lymphedema

Baptist Health Paducah: Causes and Treatments for Lymphedema

Physical therapist Holly Rodgers talks about the effect lymphedema can have on the body during cancer treatment and the therapies available to provide relief.

Causes and Treatments for Lymphedema Health Talks Transcript

Holly Rodgers, PT, Lymphedema Therapy
Lymphedema is when fluid accumulates in one area of the body and isn’t getting flushed out as it ought to be. This can happen from damage to the lymphatic system. The most common cause of secondary lymphedema in our country is treatments for cancer. They remove tissue. They remove lymph nodes for sampling and biopsies. A lot of our patients receive chemotherapy and radiation, which can be toxic to the lymph nodes.

Lisa Reilly, Benton, Kentucky
I had two surgeries. The first one was a lumpectomy and to remove some lymph nodes to look for cancer. Then, I had to have additional [surery] to remove more lymph nodes because there was too much cancer in the lymph nodes they removed.

The treatments that we provide include a massage technique called “manual lymphatic drainage.” We teach them a modified version of that for self-massage so that they can do that at home on their own.

They manipulate the vessels to allow that fluid to come to your core and eventually void out your body. It’s like bringing life back into you, because the better you feel here, the better you feel here.

With the knowledge and the treatments and the self-maintenance that you can do at home, you can prevent it from getting worse.

You can go on, you know. You can have a productive day, go back to your life and feel like you fit in.

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