Going to sauna/spa after WLE and rads

Hi all

One thing I used to enjoy doing pre-BC was going to the sauna with a couple of best friends. We have a fantastic one here in Sheffield with steam rooms/cold plunge pool/ice room/aromatherapy room etc.

After having had WLE in August 2009 and rads ending in October, I’m wondering if it is safe to once again indulge in this treat ?

My skin/scar etc are fine and I would really like to go!


Anna xx

I was advised to avoid extremes of heat like saunas/steamrooms only because I had had mastectomy with axillary clearance of lymph nodes. This was due to the increased risk of lymphodema. So I guess if you’ve still got all your lymph nodes, you’d be okay?

Are you on any other drug treatments? I understand that some hormone-based treatments (e.g. Tamoxifen) can be affected by some aromatherapy oils (e.g. Geranium). But I’m no expert!

Hi Anna,

I too was advised to avoid extremes but I am back to using the spa. I try to leave my affected arm out when sitting in the heated pools and I don’t stay too long in sauna and steam.

I think it was probably about 3 months after finishing rads that I went back and I’ve had no problems so far.

Eliza xx

Step Up Speak Out - the lymphedema support group advises the following if you are at risk of lymphedema.

How many nodes did you have removed? Was it only your 2 sentinel nodes? If so, your risk is minimal. The more nodes removed, the less you have left and the risk increased. Hope this helps.


"Avoid temperature extremes

Extreme cold may cause rebound swelling that can overwhelm the lymph system.

If an ice pack is needed, pad it with a towel and use it for no longer than 10 minutes at a time.

Heat can draw lymph fluid to the affected areas and overwhelm the lymph system.

Avoid water temperatures of more than 102 degrees in hot tubs, saunas, baths or showers.

If moist heat is needed, moderate the temperature and use it for no longer than 10 minutes at a time.
In warm climates, limit outdoor activities to the cooler morning hours."

thanks for the replies. I had 2 sentinel nodes removed (and 2 others as a double-check, I presume??) so am thinking I will probably be ok. I tend not to stay in the really hot rooms for very long anyway and the aromatherapy steam room is harmless enough as it’s just in the air not on your skin !

Looking forward to going now !!

Anna xx

Enjoy it, Anna; I know I do!

Eliza xx