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Coping with the Psychological Impact of Lymphoedema

It is normal to feel a complicated mix of emotions about your lymphoedema. For example, if you have secondary lymphoedema after cancer, you might feel that it is a reminder of your cancer diagnosis. Lymphoedema may alter the way you feel and view your body.

Coping with the Psychological Impact of Lymphoedema

Six in 1,000 people in the UK are living with Lymphoedema. You should therefore know that you are not alone and there are communities you can join to openly talk about your experience and get the support you need.

Depression, stress and anxiety can follow when dealing with lymphoedema. If you are struggling with any of the following, you should seek help and remember you can make your symptoms manageable within time.

  • Isolating yourself
  • Negative thoughts about oneself
  • Unmotivated to complete simple tasks
  • Fear of getting infections
  • Exercising too much/not enough
  • Sleepless nights
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Poor body image
  • Social anxiety and avoidance
  • Overwhelmed with distress
“Don’t panic. It’s going to be okay; you just have to manage it well.”

Kelly, 25

Kelly, 25, has secondary lymphoedema of the lower limb caused by several operations to fix ischemic bowel.

Managing your lymphoedema

Controlling the physical impact can help reduce the psychological and social impact. Things you can do to ease your symptoms include:

  • Taking action to help reduce or maintain your swelling – feel more in control by getting involved with a self-care programme
  • Getting regular exercise Understanding the facts – having complete and accurate information can help you feel prepared
  • Using deep breathing exercises to help you to relax such as meditation
  • Joining a community - don't suffer alone. Approx. 250 million people are suffering from this condition worldwide

Take control of your life

You can still live well with lymphoedema. Look at other people's inspirational stories on how they coped and by sharing your own story can empower others.

“Let’s look at the positives and how we can get back to the new normal.”

Rachel, 49

Rachel, 49, has secondary lymphoedema of the upper limb. Her left arm started to swell during cancer treatment. Learn more about how focusing on what she can do rather than what she can’t do helped Rachel manage her lymphoedema.

Help if you need it

There are organisations ready to help you and your family Talk to your lymphoedema specialist - Be well informed about your illness and treatment options

Learning more about your condition can help you to manage it

It's okay if you're not ready to talk to someone right now. Just know there are support networks available to help you We hope that our LymphConnect community can help to support you and guide you as you learn to live well with lymphoedema.

We would also love to hear your stories, and any advice you may have for others in our community on how to live well and handle the psychological impact which lymphoedema can bring.

Your support - register here to share your lymphoedema experiences, stories and top tips.

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Don’t sit around and go through this in silence. Share your story. Doing that was a real eye-opener for me

Claudia Lymphoedema patient

Claudia