The Lymphatic system is part of the immune system that has many functions, including:
- Protecting the body from illness-causing invaders
- Maintaining body fluid levels
- Absorbing digestive tract fats
- Removing cellular waste.
If the lymphatic system is not working properly, it can cause a blockage that prevents lymph fluid from draining well which can lead to swelling, called lymphedema. According to Mayo Clinic, lymphedema occurs when one of the arms or legs swells. It is caused by the removal of damage to the lymph nodes, commonly done as part of cancer-related treatment.
Lymphedema is not going to occur suddenly. This slow process can take years to evolve into a chronic disease. Often, lymphoceles may form, which are a set of lymph fluids that are not surrounded by a cell lining. It could also be caused by cancer-related surgery and gynecological medical conditions.
Simple Yet Beneficial Methods To Boost Lymphatic System
- Drinking lots of water
- Staying physically active
- Eating vegetables and fruits
- Limiting taking processed foods
Most breast cancer patients will develop breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL). It is a swelling that can occur in the arm, breast, or chest wall as a result of breast cancer surgery or radiation therapy. It can affect comfort, function, and overall quality of life.
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage is a hands-on therapy commonly used for lymphedema and often utilized as part of complex decongestive methods, such as compression bandaging, lymph-reducing exercises, and skincare.
Should You Get A Lymphatic Drainage Massage?
Although existing research shows that lymphatic drainage massage may not dramatically minimize lymphedema tissue swelling and is not any stronger (or worse) than other conservative therapies for patients recovering from breast cancer surgery. An analysis of manual lymphatic drainage in patients with breast cancer has shown that such massage may have improved outcomes for those patients with mild to moderate lymphedema than those with moderate to extreme levels.
Study shows that manual lymphatic drainage may not be an effective treatment and prevention for lymphedema after breast cancer surgery. However, it remains unclear whether it should be part of the treatment plan for breast cancer patients, especially for females with breast cancer in post-acute and long-term care, because of the lack of substantial supportive findings.
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