Which areas does this affect?


The feet, ankles, calf’s, thighs, hips, groin, genitals and lower back can all be affected by Lymphoedema. People who have had treatment for cancer in any of these areas have an increased risk of developing Lymphoedema, along with people who are above the recommended BMI and elderly people. Any area of the body which has had lymph nodes removed or damaged has an increased risk of developing the condition.


What are the side effects of Lower Body Lymphoedema?


One of the biggest challenges associated with Lower Body Lymphoedema is that it can limit mobility, making it difficult to move and walk around. Lack of movement can worsen lymphoedema as the lymph flow becomes ‘sluggish’ when it isnt being regularly stimulated, and a person can get trapped in this cycle. Psychologically, it can be difficult to deal with as a person might feel embarrassed about the appearance of the swelling in their lower body. This could lead to an individual being less sociable and isolating themselves. They may limit their amount of social activities or physical movement so that they encounter less risk of worsening the swelling and less exposure to people who may make them feel embarrassed. This consequently results in an overall lower quality of life as individuals must adjust to face their new reality and accept the changes to their body.


Causes of lower body Lymphoedema?


Being in an accident or trauma where the lower body has come in to a great impact with something can cause damage to the lymphatic system and could leave a person with Lymphoedema. It can also occur if a person has had radiation treatment for cancer or if they have had some lymph nodes removed as part of an operation to treat their cancer. While Upper Body Lymphoedema is more commonly recognised as being associated with treatment for Breast Cancer, it does not exclusively develop in people who have had this. Similarly, there are many causes of Lower Body Lymphoedema, and these range from inflammation, venous disease, traumatic injury or even heart failure.


Cancer and Lower Body Lymphoedema?


Cancer treatment is often solely and understandably, focussed towards treating the cancer itself and working towards beating it. Lymphoedema is generally only briefly discussed as it doesn’t always appear immediately following treatment for cancer, but can become present months or even years later. This proportion of people who have already survived cancer and are then faced with the additional challenge of living with Lymphoedema, can find their daily life significantly affected as they make adjustments to reduce the risk of it worsening or complications from developing. Lower body Lymphoedema mostly effects the legs, but if a person has had Cancer in their hips, groin, ankles, genitals, reproductive systems and lower back, then any of these areas can be affected.






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