Lymphoedema occurs when the body’s lymphatic system is not functioning well.
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid toxins, waste and other unwanted materials from the body. Its main role is to transport lymph – a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells – throughout the body.
Swelling in arms and legs is common with lymphoedema; however, other body parts may be affected.
People who have undergone surgery and radiotherapy for treatment of breast cancer are susceptible to lymphoedema of the arm and, sometimes, the chest wall.
People who have undergone surgery and radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer of the prostate, bowel or reproductive systems are prone to lymphoedema of the legs or groin.
Symptoms in affected area may include:
- darting pains
- heavy feeling
- hot skin area
- painful joints
- pins and needles
- tight skin – feels like will burst