Also known as axillary web syndrome, cording can happen weeks or months after surgery. It’s caused by hardened lymph vessels and feels like a tight cord running from your armpit down the inner arm, sometimes to the palm of your hand. You may see and feel raised cord-like structures across your arm, and these “cords” may limit movement. Sometimes cording may occur on the chest wall or breast.
This condition usually improves over a few months. Gentle stretching exercises during the first weeks after surgery can help. If there is no improvement or it is getting worse, try physiotherapy, massage or low-level laser treatment by a lymphoedema practitioner.
Podcast: Managing Cancer Fatigue
Prof Bruce Mann, Professor of Surgery, The University of Melbourne, and Director, Breast Tumour Stream, Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Marie Burke, Radiation Oncologist, and Medical Director GenesisCare Oncology, QLD; Dr Susan Fraser, Breast Physician, Cairns Hospital and Marlin Coast Surgery Cairns, QLD; Ruth Groom, Consumer; Julie McGirr, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Victoria; A/Prof Catriona McNeil, Medical Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Dr Roya Merie, Staff Specialist, Radiation Oncology, Liverpool Cancer Therapy Centre, Liverpool Hospital, NSW; Dr Eva Nagy, Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, Sydney Oncoplastic Surgery, NSW; Gay Refeld, Clinical Nurse Consultant – Breast Care, St John of God Subiaco Hospital, WA; Genny Springham, Consumer.
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