Hi Sue H-S
Thanks for posting.
It’s natural to worry about your risk of lymphoedema .
It’s not clear from your post what surgery you had previously. Lymphoedema can develop soon after treatment or may occur many years later. The risk is greatest for those who have both surgery and radiotherapy to the axilla (armpit). People who have had a sentinel node biopsy (only) have a reduced risk of developing lymphoedema compared to people who have had a number of lymph nodes removed.
If you’ve had surgery to the lymph nodes (glands) under the arm (axilla) , although there’s no strong evidence that having injections, taking blood, taking a blood pressure reading or having intravenous fluids in your ‘at risk’ arm will cause lymphoedema, you may want to avoid acupuncture needles in the arm, shoulder or hand on that side, to reduce the risk of lymphoedema developing.
Infection in your ‘at risk’ arm can cause swelling and may damage the lymphatic system leading to lymphoedema. Tips on how to help reduce the risk of infection can be found in the link above.
It may be helpful to contact your breast care nurse or treatment team, if you are still being followed up to discuss the acupuncture your physiotherapist is recommending, as they may be able to offer further advice on its use.
You could also contact MLD UK to speak to a therapist used to looking after those who have had breast cancer surgery and are at risk of lymphoedema.
You may find it helpful to look at the Lymphoedema Support Network website.
Do call our Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks.
The number is 0808 800 6000 (Text relay prefix 18001).
If you would like a nurse to call you do complete this form. Ticking the box agreeing to a call back.
Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.
Breast Cancer Now Nurse
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