Breast cancer and lymphoedema – fact versus fiction

Dr Ian Irving, Prof John Boyages AM and Louise Koelmeyer PhD / 01 Sep, 2021

Facebook Live with Dr Ian Irving, Prof John Boyages AM and Louise Koelmeyer PhD

Radiation Oncologist and author Prof John Boyages AM and Director of the Australian Lymphoedema Education, Research and Treatment (ALERT) Program Macquarie University  Louise Koelmeyer PhD recently appeared live on the Icon Cancer Centre Facebook page hosted by Icon Medical Director Dr Ian Irving, where they discussed breast cancer, lymphoedema and its management.

Throughout the video, the panel spoke about lymphoedema management and some of the common myths around lymphoedema, and answered a variety of questions from our patients including:

  • 6:10 – What is lymphoedema and how is it caused?
  • 9:14 – How does lymphoedema affect cancer survivors?
  • 10:32 -Why is early detection of lymphoedema so important?
  • 11:02 – What are the risk factors for lymphoedema?
  • 11:34 – What are the early warning signs of lymphoedema?
  • 13:09 – Why is regular monitoring and early intervention of lymphoedema so important?
  • 13:33 – How should I do to look after my arm to prevent lymphoedema?
  • 15:30 – How is exercise important for preventing lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment?
  • 15:58 – How can I look after my skin and reduce my chance of infection?
  • 17:20 – What exercises should I do after breast cancer treatment?
  • 23:53 – How is lymphoedema measured and assessed?
  • 26:14 – Does early detection of lymphoedema help?
  • 30:00 – What is a SOZO device and how is it used for lymphoedema screening?
  • 31:20 – What new methods are there for assessing lymphoedema?
  • 34:40 – Can lymphoedema be treated conservatively?
  • 35:20 – Can surgery be used to treat lymphoedema?
  • 40:20 – Does flying make lymphoedema worse?
  • 42:04 – Should I avoid having blood tests or injections into my arm if I have lymphoedema or I am at risk of lymphoedema?
  • 43:35 – Should I have the COVID-19 vaccine in my arm on the same side as I had my breast cancer treatment?
  • 43:55 – Should I take my blood pressure measurements on the same side as I had my breast cancer treatment?
  • 44:15 – Do fluid tablets (diuretic medications) help to improve lymphoedema?
  • 44:38 – If I have lymphoedema, should I wear my compression garment during exercise?
  • 45:56 – Can extreme temperatures make lymphoedema worse?
  • 46:20 – Can I have an operation on my arm or limb if I have lymphoedema?
  • 47:14 – What is the best way to find a qualified lymphoedema therapist?
  • 52:57 – Do the SOZO or other lymphoedema techniques involve radiation?
  • 55:00 – Where can I find a lymphoedema monitoring and screening service?
  • 56:35 – Does hormonal treatment for breast cancer (tamoxifen) cause lymphoedema?
  • 58:20 – What time frame after breast cancer treatment is lymphoedema most likely to occur?
  • 1:03:09 – How do I access the Lymphoedema Compression Garment Subsidy Scheme?
  • 1:08:20 – What are the surgical options for lymphoedema? What percentage of patients require surgery for lymphoedema?
  • 1:10:00 – Can lymphoedema occur in the breast as well as in the arm?
  • 1:12:40 – Should I wear jewellery if I’m at risk of lymphoedema?
  • 1:14:00 – Can I have a SOZO reading if I have a pacemaker or if I’m pregnant?
  • 1:14:23 – Does having seroma and getting fluid drained after surgery increase my risk of developing lymphoedema?
  • 1:15:08 – What is cording (axillary web syndrome)?
  • 1:16:20 – Is lymphoedema more common in younger or older women?
  • 1:16:45 – How many kilograms can you lift on a lymphoedema hand?

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