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Topic: Can lymphedema cause shortness of breath?

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

Posted on: May 1, 2017 06:19PM

MeToo14 wrote:

I have a very mild case of truncal and breast lymphedema. I don't do anything to treat it. I'm used to it and some days it bothers me more than others. I have had shortness of breath for months now and my lungs and heart are fine. Blood work is good. I was doing some research and saw that some people have shortness of breath with their lymphedema. It has been bothering me more. I was wondering if anyone else has had this happen to them.

35 when diagnosed. I had isolated tumor cells in my nodes and was told I am considered node negative, I do not. Dx 7/2014, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 2/3 nodes, ER+, HER2- Chemotherapy 7/13/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/24/2014 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Surgery 12/25/2014 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 1/1/2015 Carboplatin (Paraplatin) Radiation Therapy 4/26/2015 Hormonal Therapy 7/18/2015 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin)
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May 2, 2017 10:40AM Binney4 wrote:

MeToo, yes, that's a possibility. But it would be more likely if your lymphedema was affecting your abdomen as well as your breast/chest, which it may well be, especially if you have not been treating it. Weight gain can also add to the effects of lymphedema, which is often a consideration for us after breast cancer treatment.

I hear you on being "used to it," but unfortunately that's not the whole story. Lymphedema is a progressive condition which can be slowed, maybe even stopped, with treatment. Without treatment, progression in lymphedema may or may not mean greater swelling, but the real damage is done in the affected tissues, with excess fat deposition, fibrosis, and eventually skin changes, even including leakage through the skin of caustic lymph fluid.

In other words, it's time to find yourself a well-trained lymphedema therapist with experience in treating truncal (breast/chest/back) lymphedema. Here's information about how truncal lymphedema is treated:

http://www.stepup-speakout.org/breast_chest_trunck...

And here's how to find a qualified therapist near you:

http://www.stepup-speakout.org/Finding_a_Qualified...

Please do consider getting help promptly. A lymphedema therapist will be able to tell you if the lymphedema is contributing to your shortness of breath, and help you get this comfortably under control. Any doctor on your team can write a referral. Keep us posted, please!

Gentle hugs,
Binney


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May 2, 2017 02:48PM MeToo14 wrote:

Binney, thank you so much for your help. I have felt it spread across my chest, into my armpit and down my side and back. I really am concerned. I've tried to talk to my doctor about it but he's was very dismissive. I've looked into it but there really isn't places in my area to help. Also, you mentioned weight gain can make it worse. I have gained 15 pounds over a year. Again, thank you!

35 when diagnosed. I had isolated tumor cells in my nodes and was told I am considered node negative, I do not. Dx 7/2014, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 2/3 nodes, ER+, HER2- Chemotherapy 7/13/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/24/2014 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Surgery 12/25/2014 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 1/1/2015 Carboplatin (Paraplatin) Radiation Therapy 4/26/2015 Hormonal Therapy 7/18/2015 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin)
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Oct 13, 2018 02:11PM Gin52 wrote:

Your post sounds like I wrote it! I have complained of shortness of breath for a long time. I have had chest ct's and been sent to both pulmonary specialist and heart specialist andpassedboth with flying colors!

Is your still a problem, and is it more exercise induced?


Ginnie Dx 8/17/2001, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/24/2001 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 9/17/2001 Breast Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2001 Dx 7/31/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 9/9/2009 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap, Latissimus dorsi flap Chemotherapy 12/31/2009 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/1/2010 Herceptin (trastuzumab)
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Nov 14, 2018 12:00PM MeToo14 wrote:

Gin52, yes I still have this problem. I have just accepted this as life now. It totally sucks but I don't know what else to do. Yes exercise can make it worse, although I can have problems sitting still. I hope you feel better soon!

35 when diagnosed. I had isolated tumor cells in my nodes and was told I am considered node negative, I do not. Dx 7/2014, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 2/3 nodes, ER+, HER2- Chemotherapy 7/13/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/24/2014 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Surgery 12/25/2014 Lumpectomy: Right Chemotherapy 1/1/2015 Carboplatin (Paraplatin) Radiation Therapy 4/26/2015 Hormonal Therapy 7/18/2015 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin)

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