Lymphoedema

The body’s lymphatic system filters the blood and helps to fight infection. It is made up of a network of lymph vessels that transport lymph fluid throughout the body. Along the lymph vessels are many small, bean-shaped structures known as lymph nodes (glands).

Sometimes radiation therapy damages lymph nodes or lymph vessels in the area being treated, especially if some lymph nodes have already been removed by surgery. Because the lymph fluid no longer drains properly, it can build up and cause part of the body to swell. This swelling is known as lymphoedema. It usually occurs in an arm or leg, but can also affect other parts of the body.

Lymphoedema or swelling is sometimes just a temporary effect of radiation therapy, but it can be ongoing. It can also be a late effect, appearing months or even years after the treatment.

Early diagnosis of lymphoedema allows the condition to be well managed, so let your treatment team know if any new swelling appears. In some hospitals, a lymphoedema practitioner can assess your risk of developing lymphoedema and give you some simple exercises to help you reduce your risk and regain movement. To prevent lymphoedema getting worse, it is very important to avoid infection in the swollen area.

For more information about lymphoedema, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or go to Lymphoedema.

Radiation therapy can cause the skin or internal tissue to become less stretchy and harden. This is known as fibrosis. It can occur weeks or months after treatment and have a range of impacts, such as pain, lack of flexibility and narrowing of passages (such as the vagina or rectum). Let your treatment team know if you start experiencing any new pain or stiffness, as early treatment can help.

Listen to our podcasts on Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis and Making Treatment Decisions


Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Understanding Radiation Therapy.


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in December 2017
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Ask a health professional or someone who’s been there, or find a support group or forum

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono legal and financial matters, no interest loans or help with small business

Work and cancer
Information for employees, employers and workplaces dealing with cancer

Cancer information

Lymphoedema
Lymphoedema is swelling (oedema) that occurs when lymph fluid builds up in the tissues under the skin.

Managing cancer side effects
Cancer and cancer treatments may cause a range of side effects. They vary depending on the treatments you were given. Learn more.

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends

SHARE
TOP BACK TO TOP