The damage done to your lymphatic system during cancer treatments won’t heal, and there’s no way to predict if or how that damage is going to affect your body. The more your lymphatic system has been damaged, the higher your risk for developing lymphedema. Unfortunately, once you’re at risk, this risk never goes away. Lymphedema can show up as late as 10, even 20 years later.
This is why prevention is crucial! If you develop lymphedema and don ’t treat it, it can get progressively worse. There ’ s a tipping point when the swelling in the affected area won ’t ever completely go down. Treatment may help but it won ’t be as effective and the choices for managing your lymphedema will go down dramatically.