Manual Lymphatic Drainage and breast cancer :
Nowadays, breast cancer is the most frequent malignancy in women, with an incidence of 35-44 new cases per 100.000 women/per year, and its frequency is increasing. Approximately 25% of breast cancer patients develop lymphoedema following breast cancer treatment, and the risk increases every year.
Individuals with breast cancer can frequently suffer from Lymphedema post mastectomy.
When axillary lymph nodes are removed during breast surgery (with sentinel node biopsy or axillary dissection) or are treated with radiation therapy, some of the lymph vessels can become blocked. This may prevent lymph fluid from leaving the area. Lymphedema occurs when lymph fluid collects in the arm (or other area such as the hand, fingers, chest or back) causing it to swell (edema). The swelling may be so slight it’s barely seen or felt. Or, it may be so great that the arm grows very large. In severe cases, lymphedema can cause pain and limit movement. Also, it can be quite upsetting to have one arm become larger than the other, even if the change is small.
Treatment for this condition can vary, but one of the least invasive techniques is Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage. MLD is a special type of lymphatic drainage massage carried out by a trained practitioner. It can be used for any degree of swelling caused by lymphoedema but it is usually used when the swelling is severe or difficult to manage. The MLD therapist uses specialised hand movements to stimulate lymph drainage and move lymph fluid away from areas where it has collected. It is a slow, rhythmical treatment that takes time to complete. MLD
promotes the removal of toxins as it assists in the flow of lymph, blood and oxygen. Over time, clients will experience increased range of motion, reduced scar tissue, restored feeling and sensation by stimulating nerve endings, an improved body image and may become more aware and reconnected to themselves.