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All TopicsForum: Lymphedema → Topic: Swelling in armpit

Topic: Swelling in armpit

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

Posted on: Jul 25, 2017 10:50AM

Lindy-Lou wrote:

I went to my oncologist because I have swelling in my armpit and a cord with small nodules going to myelbow. My dr said I have breast lymphedema and to see an occupational therapist. My dr also said he never saw this in someone that didn't have any lymph nodes removed. Saw the OT and she said it was not breast lymphedema. Has no idea what it is - never saw it. Going for breast MRI and ultrasound of arm. I asked the OT if it could be an indication of cancer, she wasn't sure. Did anyone experience this without lymph node removal? I appreciate any feedback.

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Jul 27, 2017 02:24PM - edited Jul 27, 2017 02:25PM by Binney4

Hi, Lindy-Lou,

It's not clear from your post what treatments you've had. So I'll assume maybe a lumpectomy? If so, even without node removal both lymphedema and a condition called Axillary Web Syndrome (or "cording") are possible. Here's information about cording:


Is the OT you saw specifically trained in lymphedema? If not, it will be hard to get a reliable diagnosis from her. Here's how to find a well-qualified lymphedema therapist near you:


Hope some of that helps. Please do let us know what you find out.

Gentle hugs,

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Jul 27, 2017 09:26PM Lindy-Lou wrote:

Thank you for the information. The images of the web site you sent were identical to what I have. I had two lumpectomies (they left a clip in so I had to have the 2nd one). The OT I went to was a therapist at the Hospitol trained specifically for lymphedema. My oncologist and the therapist are baffled I have this and never had any nodes removed. I had radiation 10 years ago with no after effects. They did an ultrasound on my arm and said there are no blood clots but they don't know what is going on. I am going for an MRI in 2 days. I'll post the outcome hoping it can help someone else

Thank You again!

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Jul 28, 2017 03:47PM Binney4 wrote:

Lindy-Lou, it's possible to develop these problems even without nodes being removed. Any trauma to the chest area can do it, for instance, a car accident where someone hits the steering wheel. In Haiti after the earthquake there have been a great number of people with lymphedema caused by the crush injuries to their limbs and chest from falling debris. And lymphedema happens to football players as a result of repeated blows to their chests. The lymph vessels are relatively delicate, they mostly lie close to the skin, and their function can be slowed not only by missing nodes, but by injury and/or scar blockage as well.

Hoping the MRI gives you some helpful and hopeful answers! Hugs,

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