10 Things to Know About Lymphatic Cording

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Breast cancer patients are at risk for a host of comorbid diseases and unpleasant treatment side effects. The sheer number of potential health issues that could come up while you’re being treated for breast cancer is overwhelming, and it’s nearly impossible to know everything there is to know about them.

One of the lesser known side effects of breast cancer surgeries is known as lymphatic cording or axillary web syndrome. The list below will tell you everything you need to know about this painful and confounding condition—from how to know what it is to how to treat it and get on with your life.

Here are 10 important things you should know about lymphatic cording.

10. What causes lymphatic cording?

Lymphatic cording can be a result of a sentinel lymph node biopsy or an axillary lymph node dissection, both of which are surgeries performed on women with breast cancer that has spread to their lymph nodes. This condition can also sometimes occur in breast surgery patients who have not had any lymph nodes removed, simply due to the buildup of scar tissue in the chest area.

9. Why does this occur?

It is believed that lymphatic cording after a breast surgery is a result of the coagulation or solidification of lymph fluid following the damage or removal of lymph nodes in a particular area. The lymph fluid is left with no place to go and builds up in the area, causing swelling (known as lymphedema). Lymph fluid that stays in the area long enough to begin to solidify can cause lymphatic cording to occur.

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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?
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