I have spent so much time the last few years researching, travelling, working in Clinics and doing all that I can to learn more about Lymphedema and Cancer in order to help others that might not have the strength. One thing gets me upset though, I had Cervical Cancer (my PAP tests were always ok) a Wertheim OP, a radical lymph node dissection (lymph nodes positive), Radiation treatment and Afterloading. I have lots of information, studies, help etc. for the Breast Cancer Patients but I can hardly find anything, in any Country about us. Why? I am very happy that so much has been done for the awareness and education for Breast Cancer survivors, I was not prepared to what would happen with my body.
Even special Lymphatic Clinics are not aware about what happens after these operations, they say then it CAN only be in your legs, which is not true. I was very happy to find:
Even the Cancer Society’s hardly mention the impact. This is not only affecting women but also the men with Prostate Cancer just for example. I was also happy to find this: A thank-you also for your good work and questioning.
Lymphedema in Gynecologic Cancer Survivors: An Area for Exploration?
Lockwood-Rayermann, Suzy PhD, RN
There is a paucity of research on the incidence and impact of lower body lymphedema in the gynecologic cancer population. The cornerstone of management for gynecologic cancer is cytoreductive surgery. Depending on the site of the cancer, surgery traditionally involves removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix, accompanied with extensive node dissection throughout the pelvic cavity, and, in the case of ovarian cancer, removal of the omentum. Resection of pelvic lymph nodes and vessels, compounded by gravitational influences on lymphatic flow, can lead to lymphatic congestion that impairs mobility, raises intra-abdominal pressure, and increases abdominal and extremity girth. Lymphedema can be an indicator of recurrence and is frequently associated with toxicities such as skin breakdown, pain, neuropathy, and myopathy. Physical changes, role changes, and psychosocial issues are common symptoms reported by breast cancer survivors with lymphedema. Assessment and management strategies for upper extremity lymphedema following treatment of breast cancer cannot be directly transferred to lower extremity lymphedema affecting women with cancer of the ovary, cervix, uterus, and vulva because of limb size, volume, and location. Clinicians have anecdotally reported the presence of lower body lymphedema in many gynecologic cancer patients. Survivors have described tightness, swelling, and heaviness. Despite these clinical findings, no systematic study of lower body lymphedema in women with gynecologic cancer has been conducted. Whether lower body lymphedema is as debilitating and long-term as post-mastectomy lymphedema is not empirically known.