Know the symptoms and how to treat lymphedema after cancer treatment
Lymphedema is swelling that generally occurs in the hands, feet, or face that is caused by the accumulation of lymph fluid due to blocked lymph vessels.
Lymphedema itself is another problem that patients face after cancer treatment. The risk of developing lymphedema depends on the type of surgery performed. Patient risk factors such as obesity or weight gain after surgery, treatment factors such as radiation or other types of chemotherapy, and complications after surgery.
What is lymph?
Lymph fluid which is mainly composed of protein and white blood cells (blood cells that fight infection) is part of the lymphatic system or the immune system to get rid of infection.
During its operation, lymph fluid (lymph fluid) will circulate in the vessels. When there is damage to the lymph vessels, the lymph drainage will be blocked and cause swelling in other parts of the body.
A person who has had major surgery, including removal of a lymph node and who has received radiation therapy to the area where the lymph nodes are located, can develop lymphedema.
Where lymphedema can appear two to three years after surgery, but it must be remembered that the risk is lifelong and the risk will increase due to injury to the organs.
Symptoms of lymphedema
The body or tissue being treated will feel the first symptoms, such as:
- Swelling in the hands or feet
- Heaviness or discomfort in the arms or legs
- The skin there feels tight
- Numbness or tingling
- Easy to feel fatigue in arms or legs
- Hardening and thickening of the skin (skin fibrosis)
Immediately consult a surgeon who specializes in oncology if you experience these symptoms. Early detection and treatment can prevent worsening of symptoms and reduce severity.
Although lymphedema is usually not a life-threatening condition, it can have a major impact on a patient’s quality of life, such as:
- After breast cancer surgery, the swelling of the hands can increase concern about their appearance.
- If lymphedema affects the ability to use an arm or leg, it prevents daily activities and affects the quality of life.
- Lymphedema can slow tissue healing and sometimes cause severe pain.
- Hand and lymphedema can cause cellulitis, a skin infection that requires antibiotics and possible hospitalization.
Surgery for Lymphedema
In some cases, surgical procedures can help improve blood flow
- Lymphaticovenous Anastomosis/Lymphatic vein anastomosis (LVA) is a microsurgical intervention in which several lymphatic vessels (‘anastomoses’) are connected to small, adjacent veins.
- By connecting functional lymphatic vessels to small arteries, LVA bypasses damaged lymphatic vessels. The purpose of LVA is to encourage the large amount of lymph fluid that has accumulated in the tissues to return to the blood system itself.
Lymph node transplantation – This is a procedure in which healthy nodes are removed from one part of the body and transplanted into another limb with lymphedema. These lymph nodes can rebuild lymph nodes and improve symptoms.
Equipment: Kinevo 900
An optical device with a robotic vision system that combines optical and digital technology.
This microscope supports the doctor’s work in performing surgical procedures involving blood vessels, lymph, and nerves including LVA surgery and tumor or surgery.
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in Indonesia and can affect any age. Therefore, it is good for every woman to have a prenatal test at the age of 18 and to have it regularly.
The diagnosis of breast cancer is determined by the doctor based on the results of the pathological examination of the breast tissue.
“Certologists report on the macroscopic and microscopic examination of the biopsy samples. The report reveals whether there are non-cancerous lesions, precancerous lesions, or cancerous cells,” said the expert. Infectious Diseases at Mayapada Hospital South Jakarta Rizky Ifandriani Putri. , SpPA.
In breast cancer samples, Rizky said, the pathologist can also provide information about the presence or absence of specific hormonal receptors or other markers in the patient’s cancer cells.
“(This) is to help doctors determine the treatment plan that best suits the patient’s needs,” he said.
As a surgical specialist at Mayapada Hospital, South Jakarta, Bayu Brahmana agreed, lymphedema is also common in patients after breast cancer surgery. “It’s a common problem for patients after breast cancer surgery,” he said.
But Dr. Bayu is currently suffering from lymphedema for prevention, one of which was detected early through the use of light imaging technology using ICG lymphography.
This ICG is an important image for the early detection of lymphedema so that it can be treated immediately if it is found early. Therefore, he said, the management of breast cancer is getting more and more progress in order to reduce diseases and improve the quality of life of patients.
“These advances are minimally invasive such as breast-conserving surgery, sentinel lymph node biopsy, which is a technique of bowel surgery to prevent lymphedema, and breast reconstruction with microsurgery,” said Dr. Bayu.
Breast Cancer Treatment at Mayapada Hospital, South Jakarta
Dr. Ratna added that the Mayapada Hospital has a LINAC Radiotherapy (Linear Accelerator) aircraft which has the advantage of the latest technology, so that it can distribute the radio rays maximally to attack the cancer cells and less to the cells. healthy meat.
LINAC Radio can perform advanced techniques including 4D verification if required. This results in increased consistency and accuracy, more comfort, and fewer side effects.
“Patients’ health is the main focus of our health services. Therefore, the LINAC aircraft of Mayapada Hospital provides special protection to the heart, especially in left breast cancer with deep breathing of breathing (DBIH),” he said.
Then, the Oncology Center of the Mayapada Hospital offers comprehensive services in the treatment of tumors and cancer with the latest equipment and collaboration with specialized doctors, starting from early detection, diagnosis, treatment of surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy, to medical treatment during healing. regulation.
For those interested in checking, Mayapada Hospital ready to provide the best service they have.