If the lymph nodes have been removed during surgery or scarred during radiation therapy, lymph fluid can build up in the tissues under the skin. This is called lymphoedema, and it can cause swelling in the legs, vulva or the area above the vulva covered with pubic hair (mons pubis). Lymphoedema may appear during treatment for vaginal cancer or months or years later.
Not everyone who is at risk will develop it.
It is important to seek help as soon as possible, because early diagnosis and treatment can lead to better outcomes. A lymphoedema practitioner can develop a treatment plan for you.
For more on this, see our general section on Lymphoedema.
Podcast: Coping with a cancer diagnosis
Prof Alison Brand, Director, Gynaecological Oncology, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Gemma Busuttil, Radiation Therapist, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Kim Hobbs, Clinical Specialist Social Worker, Gynaecological Cancer, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Dr Ming-Yin Lin, Radiation Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Lisa Mackenzie, Clinical Psychologist Registrar, HNE Centre for Gynaecological Cancer, Hunter New England Local Health District, NSW; Anne Mellon, CNC – Gynaecological Oncology, HNE Centre for Gynaecological Cancer, Hunter New England Local Health District, NSW; A/Prof Tarek Meniawy, Medical Oncologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and The University of Western Australia, WA; Dr Archana Rao, Gynaecological Oncologist, Senior Staff Specialist, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Tara Redemski, Senior Physiotherapist – Cancer and Blood Disorders, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Angela Steenholdt, Consumer; Maria Veale, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council QLD.
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