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After breast cancer: Preventing lymphedema

Lymphedema may affect up to 60 percent of women after breast cancer treatment. This abnormal accumulation of fluid, or “edema,” is caused by a blockage of the lymphatic system. Often first noticed as a swelling, heaviness or tightness in the arm, hand, wrist, fingers, breast or torso on the same side as the affected breast, it can happen right after surgery or radiation, or years later.