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Lymphedema: Home

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What Is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is the name of a type of swelling. It happens when lymph builds up in your body's soft tissues. Lymph is a fluid that contains white blood cells that defend against germs. It can build up when the lymph system is damaged or blocked. It usually happens in the arms or legs.

Causes of lymphedema include

  • Infection
  • Cancer
  • Scar tissue from radiation therapy or surgical removal of lymph nodes
  • Inherited conditions in which lymph nodes or vessels are absent or abnormal

Treatment can help control symptoms. It includes exercise, compression devices, skin care, and massage.

Source: MedlinePlus - Lymphedema

Wellness Classes

The Ridley-Tree Cancer Center offers a variety of wellness programs to support patients from diagnosis, through treatment and life after treatment. Most programs are offered free-of-charge. For information regarding eligibility and upcoming dates, please see Cancer Center Calendar or call (805) 879-5678.


Oncology Lymphedema Education

Join our Certified Lymphedema Specialist for a seminar to learn about lymphedema and how you can reduce your risk.

Schedule: 2nd Tuesday of each month, 12:30 am - 1:30 pm. 
Location: Sansum Clinic Physical Therapy - 4151 Foothill Road, Building A.

This program is free-of-charge and open to the public. For more information, see the Cancer Center calendar.


Strength After Breast Cancer

This four-week program provides education and strength training instruction to those at risk for lymphedema.

RSVP required. $40 program free.
Location: Sansum Clinic Physical Therapy Office, 4151 Foothill Rd, Building A

For upcoming dates and information on how to register, see the Cancer Center Calendar.

What Every Cancer Patient Should Know About Lymphedema

Oncology Social Work Services and Counseling

Cancer can involve significant psychological, social, and economic challenges for patients and their families. How and if these challenges are addressed is an important aspect of a patient’s care plan. The Ridley-Tree Cancer Center employs clinical social workers who provide emotional and practical support for patients, their families, and their friends. Oncology Social Workers can provide advocacy and referrals as well as individual and family counseling services. In addition, they can help with financial resources to cover the cost of lymphedema garments.

Services are available at no cost and are available to anyone in our community, regardless of where they are receiving medical care. 

For more information, call (805) 879-5690.  

Books at the Cancer Resource Library

Resources provided by the Cancer Resource Library are for informational purposes only. The information in these materials may or may not apply to your specific condition, and should not be construed as medical advice. We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider to review anything you learn through these resources.

Ridley-Tree Cancer Center provides comprehensive cancer treatment and support programs for patients and families. We are recognized for medical excellence, a strong clinical research program, and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention.

Cancer Resource Library | 540 West Pueblo Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93105 | (805) 563-5807 | library@ridleytreecc.org | www.ridleytreecc.org