Women's Health

Breast Cancer Side Effects: Lymphedema

There are many symptoms that could indicate lymphedema

According to www.breastcancer.org, there are quite a lot of symptoms that could indicate lymphedema in the body. Sometimes the symptoms will appear and go away, but this doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Some of the most commonly seen symptoms are as follows:

  • Tingling, increased warmth, aching, and discomfort in the hand, arm, underarm, breast, or chest area.
  • Having a feeling of heaviness or a sense of “fullness” in the arm, underarm, hand, chest, or breast.
  • Decreased flexibility or tightness in your shoulder, hand, wrist, or other nearby joints.
  • Pins and needles feeling, feelings of shooting pain, or feelings of an odd sensation that is defined as a “bursting” feeling.
  • Tenderness in your elbow that may or may not radiate into your forearm
  • Puffiness and swelling that leaves an indentation on the skin when you press down on it; defined as pitting edema. This can be seen in the arm, hand, breast, and chest area.
  • Your veins and tendons in your hands may become difficult to see, your knuckles may look less pronounced due to swelling, or your previously wrinkled skin looks tight and smooth.
  • Difficulty fitting into a jacket or sleeve of a shirt that fit well previously.
  • Noticeable difference in the way your bra feels; feeling tighter and leaving indentations on your skin for long periods of time after removal.
  • Noticing asymmetrical sizing when looking at your back.
  • Having trouble getting jewelry and accessories on and off of your hands and wrists such as watches, rings, bracelets, etc.
  • You might notice a change in the texture of your skin like hardening, redness, tightness, and shininess.
  • Feeling warmth on the skin, pain, redness, itching, and rash.
  • Feeling feverish and/or fatigued or having flu-like symptoms

These symptoms alone can be indicators of infection as well, so regardless of your suspicions, you should seek help from a medical professional immediately upon noticing these symptoms.