Risk Reduction


Guidelines for reducing the risk of lymphedema for those who have had lymph node removal and/or radiation. 


Avoid Infection

Have blood drawn and shots given on the unaffected arm. Keep the skin clean and protect it from cuts and scratches. Always carry band-aids!



Avoid Burns

Protect your arm from sunburn. Use oven mitts when cooking and avoid splash burns from steaming foods. Do not use hot tubs or saunas.



Keep Skin Protected

Use moisturizing lotion and soaps that are pH balanced. Protect hands with gloves when cleaning.



Avoid Using Shoulder Straps

Carry bags on the opposite arm.



Avoid Restrictive Clothing

Wearing tight jewelry on the affected arm or hand will create a tourniquet effect you do not want. Blood pressure should be taken on the unaffected arm or thigh when both arms are affected.



Avoid Muscle Strain

It is okay to do normal activities and exercise with the affected arm, but do not overdo it! Everyone should consult with their doctor about the level of activity that is right for them.



Keep A Healthy Diet

Maintaining a healthy weight lowers the risk for developing lymphedema. Lower sodium intake.


Be aware of these signs of lymphedema:

  • A full feeling in your arm
  • A difference in size between the affected and non-affected arm
  • Weakness in your arm or not being able to move it as far
  • When pressing the affected arm for twenty seconds, the impression of the fingers remain