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Ask the Expert: Living well with lymphoedema with Maree O’Connor

Lymphoedema is swelling that occurs when lymph fluid builds up in the tissue under the skin. It can develop after surgery or radiotherapy to the lymph nodes under the arm and surrounding area. Surgery and radiation can interrupt or damage some of the nodes and vessels that lymph moves through, resulting in a backup of fluid in the tissues (lymphoedema). 

While there is no cure, early detection and ongoing management and treatment are important to prevent lymphoedema from worsening and to enable you to live well with it. 

In this Ask the Expert event, we heard from lymphoedema physiotherapist Maree O’Connor and BCNA Consumer Monique Bareham. Maree is lymphoedema physiotherapist with over 30 years experience in the management of lymphoedema for people affected by breast cancer and Monique was recently announced as South Australia’s 2022 Local Hero for her advocacy for compression garments for lymphoedema after her own personal experience of lymphoedema following breast cancer treatment. 

This session addressed what you need to know to be able to live well with lymphoedema, including symptoms you may experience, how you can reduce the risk of developing lymphoedema, current and emerging treatments, where you can find help and what you can do to help manage lymphoedema. 

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