Lymphoedema Risk Factors

The combination of two or more of the following conditions increases the risk of developing Lymphoedema after breast cancer surgery:

  • cancer and or removal of lymph nodes
  • radiation treatment
  • venous disease (bulging veins or removal of them)
  • surgery
  • infection
  • obesity
  • immobility
  • air travel
  • mosquito bite

(Source: Lymphatic Yoga Expert)

I refused radiotherapy on this basis, a slightly controversial decision but one I believe was right for me given the grade of my cancer.

Unfortunately however I am one of those people who is susceptible to mosquito bites, so I have taken quite a few precautions on that front (installing mosquito nets on my bedroom windows, carrying repellent and antiseptic wipes and burning citronella candles during the summer months).

As far as air travel goes, I am still very reluctant to get on a plane because of the associated risk. How much of a real risk it is no one really seems to know. It has been suggested that cabin pressure and general immobility during flight are the factors involved but the jury is out on how much the altitude contributes to it and if the wearing of compression garments (as a preventative measure) is advisable or not. Until I know more its one risk I wont be taking.

A Healthy Weight

There is a correlation between obesity and the risk of developing Lymphoedema after breast cancer surgery, making weight loss an important part of the recovery process.

A BMI greater than or equal to 30 poses a risk.

With that in mind I thought I would see what I could find to help anyone with a new year resolution to get fit and stay healthy. Not one to ever want to cut out the good stuff, I found these tips on how to stop overeating really interesting.

  1. Eat food from a smaller plates, it looks like you’re eating more
  2. Eat with your non-dominant hand and you’ll eat about 20% less
  3. Short fat glasses tend to hold more liquid than tall slim ones, so put your drinks in tall glasses to cut down on drinking
  4. Put a mirror in your kitchen or on your fridge and you’ll be more self conscious about what you’re eating
  5. Chew gum when you feel hungry to consume fewer calories
  6. Eat slowly and you’ll eat less
  7. Eat from red plates, it’s the colour associated with the word STOP
  8. Turn off your TV at meal times to eat up to 50% less
  9. Take a photo of all the unhealthy things you eat to cut down on your unhealthy eating by about a third
  10. Cut down on how many varieties of food you serve so you’re not tempted to try them all