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Living with lymphoedema

There is no known cure for lymphoedema, but it can be managed with appropriate care. Your doctor or a qualified lymphoedema practitioner can help develop the best management plan for you.

Living with lymphoedema is not just about the physical symptoms. You may also experience a range of feelings about how your body looks and how it affects your lifestyle. Coping with these feelings is an important part of looking after yourself.

Coping

If you are diagnosed with lymphoedema, you may feel upset or sad. Most people find that these feelings ease with time as they learn how to manage the condition.

The symptoms of lymphoedema may also cause you to feel upset or embarrassed about how your body looks. This may affect the way you feel about yourself and your relationships with other people.

The physical aspects of lymphoedema may also affect your lifestyle and work.

Coping with these feelings is part of looking after yourself. You may find it helpful to talk to those close to you and let them know how you are feeling. You may prefer to talk to a member of your management team, such as your doctor, lymphoedema practitioner or Indigenous health worker. The Cancer Council Helpline (13 11 20) can let you know about cancer support groups in your local area, so that you can talk to other people who have experienced lymphoedema.

If you have overwhelming feelings of anxiety or depression, talk to your doctor. Treatments are available that can help. A specialist, such as a counsellor, psychologist or sex therapist, could also be helpful.