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Diagnosed with breast cancer, on medicine. Legs got swollen, has not started chemo. Cause for swelling?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1998
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My ex-wife got diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer Hers2+ last friday, still on pain medicine, and bone scan done after 7 days. Her legs getting swollen. she did not get the chemo yet. Hospital did he blood clot test today after 9 days...why her legs getting swollen? Is it normal to start chemo after 10 days or so, since the hospital did not start treating her yet?
Posted Fri, 11 Oct 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Vaibhav Gandhi 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
May be due to lymphedema.

Detailed Answer:

I have studied your case.

Most common reason of leg swelling in breast cancer patient is lymphedema usually involve both upper and lower limb. Due to involvement of lymph node drainage of blood is affected and accumulation of fluid causes swelling.
Another possibility can be of deep vein thrombosis which is common in patient with chronic illness.
This can be confirmed by venous colour Doppler.

For lymphedema you may need to do complete decongestive therapy which include
Manual lymph drainage. .Compression with a compression stocking . Another treatment involves a pneumatic (air) compression pump. Exercise-your therapist will show you specific exercises
Additional treatments for leg lymphedema may include medications to treat related problems, such as antibiotics to treat infections or drugs to relieve pain. Some studies show that lymphedema may improve with certain dietary supplements.

Yes chemotherapy can be started 10 days after also it can be routine as some investigation are required before chemotherapy ,sooner will be better.chemotherapy will reduce size and cancer cell load will be reduced in metastatic lesion also. Chemotherapy has side effects so maintain good hydration and follow diet regime.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

Take care
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