Blood Tests

Blood Tests

Blood Tests Hi,
JUst wondering about blood tests.
I have finished all my treatment and have to have a check-up with the breast clinic in June.
On Wednesday last week I was in pre-assessment clinic (have to have gall bladder out on Tuesday) and I needed blood tests.
I was told before my breast op last year that I couldnt have blood tests or pressure checks done on my right arm.
How long is it for, is it for life or just a couple of years?
Even the lady taking my blood didnt know.
I would appreciate advice on this
Julie xx

Julie. As far as I know its for life, I was dx in jan 04 and have never allowed any one to put a needle into my arm on affected side or take blood pressure on it…the risk of developing Lymphodema isn’t worth it.
Hope your op goes ok on tuesday.

karen x

BP and tests Dear Julie

I was told not to use the affected arm for blood tests or blood pressure ever again. The breast care nurse gave me a card to put inside my purse, which says MEDICAL ALERT, and explains that I have had surgery and my lymph nodes removed. It also lists the procedures that should be avoided on that side, and advises that longterm antibiotics should be prescribed should I cut myself badly. This was both for my info, and in case of an emergency.

Best wishes, Timetraveller

operated side… I was told it was for ever. It now means when my GP checks my bp - he has to kneel on the floor!

I think the reason is that, with the potential to trigger lymphodoema as there are no lymph nodes on that side…

Lymph nodes filletted both sides - have prob.
Ask the medics for what do to- deafening silence!
Say this is a no no to GP and reply is that you’d have to get horizontal for BP- presumably this would exceed time allowance per pt.
Dig toes in - time wasting tiresome pt stuff.
So now I have everything done on one arm and hope for the best.
I can’t be the only one who’s lost 14 nodes a side- what does everyone else do? dilly

Information Hi All

Beast cancer care produce a publication leaflet on lymphoedema which includes a section on giving blood and having your blood pressure taken. This information can be found under the section
“how can I reduce my risk of lymphodema?”

This leaflet is available at

Hope this is of help.

Kind regards
On-line Host

My onc said it was ok to have blood taken OUT of ‘bad arm’ as long as its never an ‘infusion’. I have terrible veins in chemo arm and its imposs to get a vein so she said it was fine to have blood taken out if it was necessary. Never BP taken either. Ever 3 months when i have blood tests i now have it done in that arm - no problems.So much easier as well.

Risk of lymphoedema Hi

I also dont like having anything stuck in my bad arm, but my veins are so bad on my good side, i’ve had to have blood tests, chemo, iv antibiotics and i’ve had a blood transfusion in my ‘surgery’ side. It does worry me too, so far ive been lucky… but i wont let them do my Blood pressure on that side…

Ive now had a port fitted, so will insist that they try and use that from now on, feel my luck will run out sooner than later…


Hi As far as I know, it’s for life, as any infection in the affected arm could cause lymphoedema.

Breast Cancer Care nurse Hi Everyone,

This is a really interesting thread.
I wondered if it would be helpful for me to add to the information you have here.
One of the biggest difficulties with information about prevention of lymphoedema is the lack of clinical evidence.
As you can appreciate it is not an area in which clinical trails can be run, to see who will get lymphoedema and who won’t.
Therefore evidence is reliant on information reporting by both patients and health care professionals.

As a general rule most people following surgery to remove lymph nodes from the axilla (armpit) are advised to avoid having blood pressure or blood taken from the affected arm. The reason for this is to avoid having any puncture in the skin, (as in taking blood) as this raises the potential risk for infection, and having pressure applied to the arm, (via blood pressure cuff) can damage the small blood vessels (capillaries) causing bruising and possible swelling in the arm. Both of these situations can contribute to lymphoedema begining and we want to avoid this wherever possible. However it has to be said many people do have blood and blood pressures taken and never go on to develop problems.

Having said this, sometimes it is not possible to use the opposite arm due to other factors e.g. poor veins following chemotherapy or that both arms have lymph nodes that are affected.

It is probably fair to say that some healthcare professionals are more creative than others in their search for alternatives places on the body to take blood or a blood pressure! If you wanted to, you could always suggest an ankle or foot for blood taking, but a special cuff is required to take blood pressure from the leg.

If anybody has a specific issue and wanted to discuss further options you could always ring the helpline.

Best wishes

Breast Cancer Care Nurse

Risk of Lymphoedema Hi

I had 20 lymph nodes removed from my right arm.

I no longer allow the doctor/nurse to take my blood pressure from this arm, take blood or even give my Herceptin in this arm.

If this helps reduce the risk of lymphoedema - then my left arm will have to suffer everything lol.


Thanks Thankyou to all of you who took the time to reply to my question.
Just to let you know that the hospital put a coloured band on my bad arm so nurses and doctors knew not to do anything to the affected arm.
Spoke to the doc who was putting me under and he said they would only use the affected arm in an emergency.
All went well and I was out the same day, although feeling rather sorry for myself and very sore, with five holes in my tummy and eleven stitches to come out in ten days time.
Mind you I did get two-for-one operation they repaired my hernia that Ive had for the last nineteen years ( which never bothered me).
Hopefully thats it for this year just a check-up in June at the breast clinic.
Thanks once again for your replies
Julie xxx
P.S Just got a letter giving me an appointment at the ENT clinic for them to look at a polyp in my ear!!! Will this ever end? I think I will be having a ward named after me now…