Supporting women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer

Top Tips for coping with Lymphoedema

By cv

I have made a small lympho kit bag which I take with me everywhere as long as I have a handbag with me. It contains:

some pieces of band aid
special tissues to clean a wound
antibiotic liniment
a couple of surgical gloves
a few antibiotic tablets in a small plastic bag
a card stating my name , address, NHS/ICE number and diagnosis with NO NEEDLES, NO BP on left arm

One thing I have found very useful is to have a box of surgical gloves in my kitchen. I put a pair on if I cut or slice something, even bread. It's good for avoding cuts etc in my hand. And it's hygienic and protects my gauntlet so I do not have to remove it.

I wear oven mittens if I am anywhere near the oven.



It's best to keep ironing to a minimum. And the reason for that is that you are effectively carrying something, for much of the time (and pushing it for the rest). And altho' it's good for your arm to be active, when you carry something the skeletal muscles are in a state of contraction, which can affect the entry of lymph fluid into the lymph vessels. Plus, to be effective, irons tend to weigh a bit, too, and you don't weight dangling off the end of your arm for long periods. an ideal world we wouldn't do any ironing. But as we live in the real world and it's probably a case of having to, here's my suggestions:

DON'T iron anything you don't have to. EG, I never iron bedding (except for guests).

Get other people to do their own clothes, etc, if possible.

Use the 'easy iron' setting on the washing machine, if there is one.

Don't use the water reservoir on the iron - use a separate spray instead; this will reduce the weight of the iron.

Try to share the ironing between both arms a bit, if you can.

Don't iron for more than 10 mins without a break which gives your arm a different activity - or a rest, ie don't tackle ironing mountains in one go.


By fr

I've managed to teach myself to iron with my left hand and don't do it in huge piles. OH and my 16yr old son do their own so I'm lucky there.