Lymphedema is referred to as a “dreaded” side effect of treatment. Body image can be affected as the limb becomes distorted, the sleeves in clothesdo not fit properly or a swollen finger prevents a wedding ring from being worn. Heaviness in the upper quarter and difficulty using the limb for functional activities are symptoms that reported.
The fear of developing Lymphedema has also been reported. This fear can affect how patients who were treated for breast cancer are approaching activity during their years of survival and can be a constant reminder of their illness. Although most of lymphedema occurs in the first 3-4 years, long-term follow-up reports show that edema development can present several years after that time. The risk of developing Lymphedema lasts a lifetime. Thus, this feeling of vulnerability cannot be easy for many patients to overcome.