How Lymphedema Affects Men and Women Differently

Posted on October 11, 2018 with 0 comments

Your chances of developing secondary lymphedema after cancer or related treatments are medically the same whether you are a man or a woman. But which limbs are affected- and how seriously you take the risk- is often gender-specific.


It is understandable that patients are overwhelmed while undergoing cancer treatment or lymph node injury. But post-surgical caution can make a big difference in preventing the severe swelling that creates the need for lymphedema compression garments in Arkansas. Because certain cancers are more likely to affect either men or women, the limbs affected by lymphedema also tend to vary according to gender.

Where Lymphedema Develops

During cancer treatment, adjacent lymph nodes may be removed or damaged. Men’s cancers in the groin region mean that male patients who develop lymphedema are more likely to experience swelling in the legs. The cancers most related to this risk of lower limb swelling are colon, testicular, and prostate cancers in men.

Women can also have lymphedema in their lower body, following treatment for uterine or ovarian cancers. Statistically, however, women with lymphedema are most likely to have the condition in their arms after breast cancer surgery and adjacent lymph node dissection.

Lymphedema Compression Garments in Arkansas

With women needing decongestive therapy around their chest and upper arm areas if they develop lymphedema, they are more likely to need compression sleeves, bras, and camisoles. Men’s lymphedema compression garments in Arkansas are more likely to be in the socks and leg wrap families after lymph nodes in the groin area are damaged or removed.

Of course, many cancers can affect both men and women, or can occur in similar regions, such as the pelvic area. For that reason, overlap in some of the compression garments is normal. Your medical team will guide you to the best garments for your condition and your lifestyle. Many come in both day and night time varieties.

Prevention Readiness

According to the University of Michigan, educating male cancer patients about the dangers of lymphedema is more challenging than warning female patients. Male patients tend to take the warnings about lymphedema dangers less seriously than female patients, UM doctors report.

This is a dangerous attitude, because preventative measures play a big part in avoiding lymphedema after cancer treatment. The practitioners explain that in their experience, male patients are not as likely to keep post-surgical bandages clean and in place. While this obviously will not be true of every man facing a lymphedema risk, the danger of overconfidence is something to guard against.

If you are in need of more information about lymphedema or lymphedema compression garments in Arkansas, do not hesitate to reach out to our dedicated team at Horton’s Orthotics and Prosthetics. We carry a full line of lymphedema compression garments and related prosthetics, such as compression bras and breast prostheses, along with compression shorts and stockings. Contact Horton’s by calling (501) 683-8889 or use our online resources so that we can begin helping you with your lymphedema concerns as soon as possible.

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