Life with bowel cancer


Lymphodema legs

Hi, when I had my bowel tumour op, the surgeon took out 35 lymph nodes. As a result I have been left with lymphodema in my left leg (my lymphodema nurse tells me it due to my lymph system blocking due to missing nodes).

I have an exercise bike which helps to get my system moving, but I just wondered if anyone else here has lymphodema and if there are any tricks I'm missing to relieve it . Thanks


@rebeccao , I don't know whether this is suitable in your position, but have you tried a proper lymph massage? My sister trained in this and I know she treated breast cancer patients. Worth asking your nurse if she knows a suitably qualified practitioner? :x:


Hi @rebeccao I'm assuming that the lymphoedema is in your lower leg? Depending on the severity, I believe that your lymphoedema nurse can get you some compression stockings if needed - but beware - they are quite tight and make you very hot! Also, one thing to remember is to take care of the skin in the area affected as one of the problems with lymphoedema is skin infections which can result in cellulitis. It can be a real pig of a thing to get rid of, so you may want to ask your nurse if there's anything you can do e.g. moisturising to help prevent this.


Thanks @Ev and @Daffodil, do either of you suffer?


No, @rebeccao , one of my close family had problems a couple of years ago. She had cellulitis after getting bitten by some unseen wee beastie when in Malaysia - this was the cause of her lymphoedema. She had to wear compression socks on both legs (through the day) which were reduced in size every so often until the fluids eventually drained out of the "bad" leg. At nights she also had to moisturize the leg - she ended up using Udderly Smooth cream as my husband found it was great when he was on chemo and it worked a treat for her leg too. Unfortunately for her, the lymphodaema nurse noticed that she also has lipoedema (seems like it runs in our family a bit), so although the effects of her lymphoedema are under control now, she still has to wear the socks for the lipoedema!!

Bear G

Hi @rebeccao
I have transient lymphodema but mine isn’t due to the cancer etc, it’s following getting hit by a car!
Same outcome though, the lymph doesn’t drain properly.
You could try to find a lymphodema nurse to do lunparic massage but there aren’t that many. I don’t have any experience of this.
As others have said, compression socks can help (as my trauma site is the thigh I have to use compression tights). These do help a bit but they’re not comfortable or practical to wear all the time. Please make sure they are graduated ones to help lymph drainage though, straight compression may make things worse!
The thing that works best for me is a simple exercise my physio gave me. Lie flat on your back wrap an exercise band around your foot and raise your leg to 45degrees (ish), then simply gently pump your foot with a bit of resistance against it. Helps drain the leg.
That’s been the best for me!
Hope this helps
Big hugs