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I have had bilateral breast cancer with lymph nodes removed both sides. I have been trying to find a cancer center or lab that will do blood draws out of the foot or another body part to lessen my chances of getting lymphedema. No one wants to provide this service. Today I went for a nuclear bone scan and they wanted to inject the radioactive material into my arm. I asked if they would do it in my foot and they didn’t know how to respond. I don’t think they had a clue what I was talking about. There was an older gentleman there who said they did it routinely years ago but they don’t seem to do it anymore. He suggested that it might be considered a liability and that is why they don’t do it anymore. He said sure he would do it and it was a piece of cake. I had this test done in the hospital adjacent to the cancer center I am going to which will not do it. When I finished the test I went to the lab and asked if I came in for blood work would they do it that way and they grudgingly said probably. My question is that if cancer centers are all about cancer and lymphedema is something that occurs after breast surgery with node removal, then why is it not routinely available at these places that advertise how wonderful they are and how it is all about the patient? How many people have found a place that will do this?

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Replies to "I have had bilateral breast cancer with lymph nodes removed both sides. I have been trying..."

I'll be following this discussion. I had invasive cancer in one breast and a Stage 0 – ALH in the other breast, so both breasts were removed 3 years ago. Lymph nodes were removed from both sides and I developed lymphedema in the breast that was ALH (not invasive cancer…figures, huh….) I avoid the lymphedema arm in blood draws and blood pressure but oddly have to do my blood draws in the arm where more lymph nodes were removed. My belief is that doctors don't really consider the possibility or realities of lymphedema, don't plan for it and don't follow a very good protocol. There are advocates for what you're asking. The most prominent person I have seen advocating for better concern and treatment is the actress Kathy Bates. Perhaps googling her organization and work will pull up some ideas or resources for this. Hugs.

Lymphedema has happened to me on my right side, after breast cancer. I couldn’t understand why my doctors were just shrugging their shoulders like they don’t know why and we will watch and see. The lymphedema group has a lot of good information.

@sandyjr I moved your question about alternate methods for getting blood work done to the original discussion you started about this. It is a good discussion and I wanted to keep everyone in one place to talk about it.