After the initial breast cancer diagnosis, days are crammed with tests and your brain can become overloaded with what seems like a never-ending list of decisions about treatment. The patient is the center of a large and complex health care team. But once those initial, traditional treatments are history – surgery, chemotherapy, radiation – it’s time to cope and recover from side effects.
Some side effects are less well-known by lay people (or even other doctors, such as cardiac specialists) and may be less well-described by the care team.
One of these side effects is breast cancer–related lymphedema. A form of secondary lymphedema, it is a debilitating byproduct of breast cancer treatment (lymph node removal, either sentinel node biopsy or axillary, and radiation therapy).