What is lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema is swelling (oedema) caused when the lymphatic system does not easily drain fluid from areas of the body. Lymphoedema affects 1 in 5 people who have lymph nodes removed for cancer treatment. It also has many other causes. Lymphoedema is often a long term condition, but can be improved. At The Haven we can support you to live well with lymphoedema.
About The Haven self-management support services
We offer hope, support and practical advice to help you to self-manage lymphoedema and reduce your risk of any lymphoedema problems such as infection. Our approach is person-centred, and we recognise that living with lymphoedema can be distressing. We listen to you, respecting your individual needs, and those of your family and carers. Support is provided in the calm and peaceful surroundings of The Haven Centres, and other suitable venues.
How do I recognise if I have lymphoedema?
The most common sign of lymphoedema is swelling of a limb. You might notice heaviness in your arm or leg, tightness of clothing, shoes or jewellery. Swelling is not always obvious in early stages and may reduce at night, become worse in the heat, after certain activities, or with lack of movement.
If you answer yes to one or more of the questions below, you may be at risk of lymphoedema:
- Do you have heaviness or swelling in any of these areas: arm/hand; leg/foot; breast/chest; abdomen; buttock/genitals; head/face?
- Have you had cancer treatment?
- Have you had surgery or radiotherapy to lymph nodes?
- Have you had cellulitis (infection)?
What services do we offer?
- Healthy Lymphatics after Cancer Treatment information sessions: a welcoming, informative two hour group session for people at risk of lymphoedema after cancer treatment.
- Lymphoedema Self-management courses: a unique and interactive course consisting of four group sessions of two hours with around 6-8 people, followed by an individual session for you with a lymphoedema therapist. You will learn more about your lymphatic system and how to manage lymphoedema through skin care, use of compression garments, exercise, and, for some people, practical skills such as self-bandaging and kinesio-taping.
- One-to-one (individual) support: this includes manual lymph drainage, a safe, relaxing and effective massage that improves lymph drainage, reducing swelling and scarring, and improving skin condition.
These information sessions and self-management courses are run regularly by our experienced and friendly lymphoedema team. Contact The Haven for more information or to book a place.