Can lymphedema happen at any time?

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Question from Sally: Do you get lymphedema right after surgery, or can it occur anytime—even years after surgery for breast cancer?
Answers - Answer I have patients who come in 10, 15, even 20 years after surgery who never had swelling before and suddenly developed lymphedema.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Sometimes it can happen without any clear reason, and sometimes it can happen because of something specific that happened, like an infection, burn, overuse of the arm, or something like that.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Arm Lymphedema Prevention and Management featured Sara Cohen, O.T.R./L., C.L.T.-L.A.N.A.Saska Thiadens, R.N. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about preventing and managing arm lymphedema.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 2002.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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