Breast lymphoedema can occur secondary to breast cancer treatment and is caused by a disruption of lymphatic flow to the breast or axilla (armpit). It can occur after surgery, radiotherapy or a recurrent cancer.
Breast lymphoedema can present as swelling and pain to the breast and hardening of the tissues. Skin changes may be present, including redness, discolouration and sometimes the development of ‘peau d’orange’ (an orange peel texture) due to fibrosis and trapped lymph fluid.
There are several risk factors which increase the incidence of developing breast oedema, these include:
Treatment can involve:
- Seroma (a collection of fluid close to the scar line requiring repeated drainage)
- Post-operative infection
- A marked reaction to radiotherapy
- Position of the scar- vertical is more likely to develop lymphoedema than horizontal
- Cording- development of cords on the chest wall/axilla after surgery.
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage
- Simple Lymphatic Drainage- a self massage technique
- Medical Taping
- Skincare – keeping skin well moisturized to prevent breaks in skin
- Lymphatic Exercises – to increase muscle pump activity (drainage of tissues) and reduce swelling
- Correct bra fitting to offer support to the swollen breast
For assessment and a prescribed treatment talk to a Lymphoedema Therapist
For information about the Ministry of Health Breast Prosthesis Subsidy, click here
For a list of Registered Bra Providers throughout New Zealand, click here.
Breast Prosthesis Subsidy
Ministry of Health website
Registered Bra Providers
Maree Louise Under Fashions
: 113 Great South Rd Papakura, Auckland, ph. (09) 298 0999
: 118 Symonds St, Royal Oak, ph. (09) 624 3718
Breast Care Products:
311 Manukau Rd,Epsom and 12 Silverdale St, Silverdale, ph 0800 264 822
: Angelsea Clinic, Gate 3, 56 Tristram St, Hamilton ph. 07 849 5588
Your Top Drawer - Lingerie on Coleman
: 8 Coleman Pl, Palmerston North. Phone Sarah Emmert on 06 3593278 for a discrete appointment at the shop or in your own home if required. Sarah offers options from different suppliers and is passionate about fulfilling the needs of local prosthesis ladies.
Christine Brady visits once a month, and fittings are done at the Cancer Society, Addis House, 135 Ruahine Street Palmerston North ph. 06 3565355
Christine Vendt is happy to arrange a fitting either at the Cancer Society or in your own home throughout the lower North Island ph. 0800 272 748 (0800 BRAS 4 U)
They are also stockists/fitters of the Sigvaris range of compression garments. Will also do doppler tests ph.04 389 1611.
Lorraine's Fashion and Lingerie
: 140 Riddiford St, Newtown ph. 04389 9820
Kirkcaldie & Stains Ltd
: 165-177 Lambton Quay, Wellington Central ph. 04 472 5899 or visit their website
for more information.
: 45 Treadwell St, Naenae ph. 04 567 1578
: 20 Seaview Rd, Paraparaumu Beach ph. 04 902 4272
Prosthesis and Garment Suppliers/Wellington
(Wellington) Ltd, 3-5 George St, Thorndon ph. 04 815 8058 or email email@example.com
or visit their website
for more information.
U Fit In:
197A Fendalton Road, ph. (03) 351 9244
Ballantynes Department Store
: City Mall, ph. (03) 379 7400
Lingerie on Barrington
: Barrington Mall, ph. (03) 337 6609
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