The massage specialty of Manual Lymph Drainage has grown in use as medical doctors become more aware of its benefits to patients with lymphedema. New research shows that obesity increases the risk of developing lymphedema for breast cancer survivors.

Breast cancer survivors have a lifetime risk for developing lymphedema, a chronic condition that involves swelling of the limbs and impacts physical and psychosocial health. In a new study, University of Missouri researchers found that the risk of developing lymphedema is 40 percent to 60 percent higher in women with body mass index (BMI) classified as overweight or obese compared to normal weight women.

Based on the analysis, lymphedema is a risk for approximately two-thirds of breast cancer survivors in the 30 months after surgery. Breast cancer survivors who develop post-op swelling have a significantly higher risk (40 percent) of developing lymphedema.

The study, “Post-Op Swelling and Lymphoedema Following Breast Cancer Treatment,” was published in the Journal of Lymphoedema.

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