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lymphatic system blockage

Judy1957's picture
Judy1957
Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2004

I was wondering if anyone has any experience with a lymphatic system blockage after cancer staging operations. A few days ago I discovered that my right side from my groin down to my foot had swollen to about twice the normal size. After several tests to determine if I had a blood clot (which I didn't) the only thing the doctors could determine is that I must have a problem with the lymph drainage system on that side as I have had several nodes removed, several have been biopsied, and I had pelvic radiation. Shortly after the staging operation (which was done laproscopically) I had a sharp stabbing pain in my groin that no one could figure out -- it took weeks for it to finally go away. The pain came back a few weeks ago, and a few days before the whole leg swelled up I was having more groin pain and noticed that I was getting 'puffy' in that area again. The only treatment that they suggested was ice packs to reduce swelling and keeping my leg elevated. The swelling has gone down (some still in the calf) and the pain in my groin is reduced but still there -- especially if I stand or walk for too long. I'm wondering if there is any test that anyone knows about to determine if there is reduced flow, or if anyone else has a similar experience. I am concerned that this is some after-effect of radiation and I may be stuck with this for the rest of my life!

Judy1957's picture
Judy1957
Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2004

I will add my own reply so if anyone else reads this and is curious they will know! The condition is called lymphedema and there is a discussion group about it on this web site. If you've had lymph nodes removed, you might want to check into the problem. It seems as though people who have gotten it post-cancer treatments are surprised by it, but it's pretty common. If you may be vulnerable and need to get on an airplane -- check it out as you may want to invest in a compression stocking before you fly just to be safe.

Take care!

grannyfranny
Posts: 42
Joined: Jan 2004

There's something called lymphatic drainage massage, which is performed by a physical therapist who has had special training in the subject. I can't give a testimonial; I had a very few treatments, but the therapist decided that I really didn't need it. In conjunction with the lymphatic drainage massage, there's a pump that inflates a big boot-like thing (I'm sorry I don't know what it's called), segment by segment from the foot up, and them deflates it again in reverse order. This is used in the physical therapy office. (I suppose you could buy one if you wanted to, but I don't know if insurance would pay for it.) I'd think it would be worthwhile asking about this kind of therapy.

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