Lymphoedema may be due to surgery or radiotherapy treatment, and the swelling usually develops close to the area where you received this treatment. Not all swelling is lymphoedema, but your doctor or the lymphoedema therapists will be able to advise you on the cause of your swelling and discuss with you the best way to manage it.
If there is a risk that you may develop swelling related to your cancer treatment, it is usually better to adopt some simple care of the area where swelling may appear, so that the likelihood of swelling developing is reduced; seek advice for any swelling at an early stage.
After a full assessment, the lymphoedema therapists will discuss with you a combination of treatments to manage your swelling. These may include skin care, the use of a special garment, a specific type of skin massage or lifestyle adjustments. Additional appointments are made if required.
For further information, we have two booklets about lymphoedema. The leaflet Lymphoedema: your questions answered is for patients who are at risk of developing lymphoedema. The booklet Lymphoedema: a guide for cancer patients is for patients who have lymphoedema. They are available from the Help Centre, or can be downloaded below.
How can I see the Lymphoedema Service?
The Lymphoedema Service is available to all patients receiving cancer treatment who develop swelling. Some aspects of treatment may not be covered by medical insurance.
You can contact the Lymphoedema Service yourself for general advice if you think you may have swelling that is related to your cancer treatment. Your hospital doctor or your GP can also refer you for advice and treatment.
The lymphoedema therapists have daily outpatient clinics and also see patients when they are in hospital. Telephone queries are answered throughout the day and you can leave a message on the clinic answerphone to which will be responded to as soon as possible.
Chelsea Lymphoedema Service: 020 7808 2981
Sutton Lymphoedema Service: 020 8661 3504