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Lymphoedema is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes swelling in the body's tissue, usually in the arms or legs. This can lead to pain and a loss of mobility.
Symptoms of lymphoedema
The main symptom of lymphoedema is swelling in all or part of a limb, which can cause problems with wearing jewellery or watches, or fitting into clothes or shoes.
Causes of lymphoedema
Primary and secondary lymphoedema have different causes.
Diagnosing lymphoedema
If you are at risk of developing lymphoedema because you have had treatment for cancer, you may be offered an assessment for lymphoedema as part of your aftercare treatment plan. Otherwise, see your GP if you experience symptoms of swelling.
Treating lymphoedema
The recommended treatment for lymphoedema is a treatment plan known as Complex Decongestive Therapy (CDT). CDT is made up of four components.
Complications of lymphoedema
Cellulitis is the most common complication of lymphoedema, but the condition can also cause psychological issues.
Preventing lymphoedema
If you have received treatment for cancer, the following steps could help prevent lymphoedema. If you already have lymphoedema, this advice may stop it getting worse.