The authors of the lymphedema pages are Linda Burhansstipanov, MSPH, DrPH, Cherokee Nation and Jeffrey Koser, C.S.C.S.
3. Don't know
"Women are twice as likely as men to have lymphedema after having lymph nodes removed as part of the cancer diagnosis and surgery."
Robert Judkins, Cherokee, diagnosed 1993 with testicular cancer
Doctor says, "Well in 90 days you have to have another surgery to take out your lymph nodes, sexual lymph nodes".
Robert, "So I still don't have insurance and I know that, that it's going to be a big ordeal. So I do the wrong thing. I go a year and just forget about it."
Lymph nodes are removed as part of a cancer diagnosis. They also can be damaged by radiation.
NOTE: Once lymph nodes are removed, you may get lymphedema at any time for the rest of your life
So many new words are used that most people don't understand a lot of what is happening to them. The lymph nodes help fluids to drain from your arm. They are important in fighting infections
"But the thing that I wasn't ready for was the 17 lymph nodes that they had to remove along with my breast. And I said OK, what does a lymph node do anyway? What do I need it for?"
The body has between 501 and 700 lymph nodes
(the number of nodes varies from individual to individual).
About half of the nodes are in the middle of your body (stomach or abdominal cavity).
The lymph nodes near your armpits and groin have about 100 nodes.
Thank you, Saskia R.J. Thiadens R.N., Executive Director, National Lymphedema Network
Ruth Demitt, Athabascan/Tanacross, diagnosed 1985 with breast cancer
"In August they did a biopsy and we find out it was breast cancer. It was located by the nipple... Then a couple of weeks later they did a biopsy on the lymph nodes and had to take three out and one of them was positive."
"Then I went back five days later and they removed the fifteen lymph nodes and glands, and that was the way it happened, and it all happened so fast, it was kind of a surprise."
Arlene Wahwasuck, Prairie Band Potawatomie Tribe, Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002
"My lymph nodes were negative and the size of the lump was small"
AI/AN cancer survivor who requested to remain anonymous: "While attending a wellness gathering for Native Survivors, the participants did a fly fishing exercise that moved their arms so that one of their elbows was above their shoulders and then moved their arms forward like they were casting the fishing line. The exercise caused an elder's lymphedema to immediately swell. She had to go home and it took three weeks to get the swelling down in her arm. "Fall 2004
NOTE: (http://www.lymphnet.org and Cure: Spring 2003, pp. 58-61; http://www.curetoday.com)
Caroline Shubert, Fisk River Inupiaq, diagnosed 1988 with breast cancer
"The three of us would go for walks in the neighborhood. I would deliberately swing my arms to try to get back the mobility and movement in my arms. I had exercises: walking your fingertips up the wall, I had to do that... Once I get them up there push down you know. Um, I spent a lot of time doing exercises, um and going for walks, I like the out of doors. After I was cleared to fly, I went up to the village. And mother was there. And the fish were running and it was so difficult because I had been cut from one side of the body to the other, the incision was healing, but I, I had very little strength in my arms. Hans and my brother, Johnny, would lift the fish up on to the table. Sometimes I could only cut two or three salmon and then I would have to go back and lie down. There is a lot of insulation across the area, and I found that even in the warmest weather I would get very, very cold."