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Lymph node removal


Re: Lymph node removal


Hi Woodsy


Thanks for posting.


Your dominant arm can often show as having a slightly higher volume differential (up to 10%).  A 20% differential would usually mean some oedema in the arm, and it’s  good that your arm has responded so well to wearing your sleeve, doing exercises and breathing.


Early lymphoedema, managed immediately, can often respond so well, that you’ll only need maintenance therapy and you may not have to wear your sleeve all the time. You can discuss this with your lymphoedema nurse at your next appointment.


It’s not possible to say, whether your swelling was because you were postoperative or whether you developed an early form of lymphoedema. However, having an ache and discomfort for days may well indicate that this is the cause. If you find that your swelling increases again when you remove your sleeve, than you’ll know that you have lymphoedema.

You may find it useful to view the Lymphoedema Support management videos on You tube.


You could also try and speak to your specialist team about the pain that you are experiencing. Temporary damage to minor nerves which normally settles soon after surgery, can continue is some people for longer. Our booklet might be helpful for you to read.


We have recently launched Breast Cancer Care’s app (BECCA). You can get simple and relevant suggestions each day to help you adapt to life after breast cancer treatment. It includes tips about diet, lifestyle, hobbies and wellbeing.


You can get the app by searching 'BECCA' in Google Play and the iTunes App Store.

If you don’t have a smartphone, you can register to use the BECCA here.


Do call our free, confidential Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The number is 0808 800 6000.


We are closed from Friday 30th March to Monday 2nd April for the Easter Holiday. When we reopen on Tuesday 3rd April our new opening hours will be Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.


Best wishes





Breast Cancer Care Nurse


Please read the Ask Our Nurses disclaimer.  This thread will now be closed from further replies. If you have any additional questions or would like to provide feedback, please start a new thread.


Lymph node removal

I had a single mastectomy last February (2017) with 3 lymph nodes removed at the same time.  3 months later, I was diagnosed with lymphodema in my arm, as there was 20% size difference between my arms.  Since then, Ive worn my sleeve most days, have been doing my exercises, breathing etc.  I had my 3rd visit to the lymphodema clinic today since initial diagnosis.  This is the third time my affected arm has measured 1 or 2% smaller than my other arm, even though its my dominant arm.  The nurse now says I may have been misdiagnosed as my initial diagnosis was given 2 weeks after a subsequent operation on my breast.  However, I still get pain in my arm, like an ache.  It isnt there constantly, but it can stay for days when it does appear.  This arm can also be quite weak at times.  If it isnt lymphodema, what could be causing these symptoms?