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Topic: Laser Hair Removal

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: Mar 21, 2010 05:41PM

Tamara wrote:

I am about 1 1/2 out since my dx and while I don't have lymphedema - I know I will always be at risk since I had axiallary dissection (13  nodes).  I have developed rotator cuf problems in both shoulders (I think it may be a bad reaction to the anti-biotic "cipro"). Anyway - shaving my underarms has become almost impossible because of restrictions to my range of motion.  A friend (non BC friend) suggested laser hair removal.  My question is rather that would be safe to do on my bc side or whether it would increase the lymphadema risk.

A year ago when I was trying to get use to having no hair while going through chemo - I never thought I would be thinking of a way to get rid of hair!  

Any experience or opinions about laser hair removal would be welcome!   

Dx 5/30/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 21, 2010 07:31PM kira wrote:

Tamara, there's no studies about it, that I know of, but I've watched family members get it and the lasers are fairly high energy--everyone needs to wear eye protection, and it caused pain and swelling and required several treatments. So, it's a risk, but how much of a risk is hard to know.

The laser that is cleared for use in lymphedema--but doesn't have great studies to prove it works well, it a "cold" laser in that it emits light in a way that does not heat the tissue.

The laser for hair removal "coagulates" the hair roots, so it has more tissue effects.

It's a hard call. I'd advise against it--but then I'm really cautious.

Let's see what others say.

Kira 

Knowledge is the antidote to fear, Ralph Waldo Emerson Dx 5/10/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 22, 2010 03:02PM Member_of_the_Club wrote:

I am the queen of laser hair removal but I would never use it on my underarm post-bc.  It works by literally burning out the roots of the hair, causing (brief) redness and swelling.  You can literally smell the burning.  I can't imagine that would be good with a compromised lymphatic system.  What about chemical hair removers, like Nair?

Dx 9/30/2004, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 22, 2010 06:06PM Binney4 wrote:

Nair and such are all apt to cause skin reactions, and they're unpredictable -- you can use it without much problem a few times and then suddenly the next time it gets messy, so also a big risk. There are some razor ideas here:

http://www.stepup-speakout.org/How_You_Can_Cope_with_Lymphedema.htm#Shaving_under_our_arms

This is a perpetual problem, for sure. Hope you can find a solution that works for you, Tamara!
Binney

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Mar 26, 2010 09:57AM Tamara wrote:

Thank you for the feedback - I didn't really think the laser idea was going to be a good one but thought it was worth asking!  I have an electric razor - my problem is that my range of motion doesn't let me reach or get at the right angle to get a close shave. 

I will keep working with the PT and hope I can increase the range of motion.

Thanks again

Dx 5/30/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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