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The following is a self-quiz to help you remember some of the key points covered here. Try taking the quiz, then look at the answers. If you have any questions, or something isn’t clear, talk to your doctor or nurse.

1. To help prevent and control long-term swelling, you should remember the hand and arm precautions:

    a. Forever
    b. Until you feel fine
    c. Until your doctor says you have developed new lymph pathways
    d. For 6 months after surgery and/or radiation
    e. For 6 weeks after surgery and/or radiation

2. To help prevent infection in the affected arm:

    a. Cut your cuticles every week.
    b. Wear gloves when working with hot or sharp objects.
    c. Do not have blood drawn from the affected arm.
    d. Stay out of bright sunlight.
    e. b and c only

3. If swelling appears in the affected arm or hand soon after surgery:

    a. Raise the arm for 45 minutes.
    b. Call your doctor or nurse right away.
    c. Raise and support your hand or arm above the level of your heart, then open and close your hand 15 to 25 times.
    d. a and c only
    e. a, b, and c

4. Call your doctor or nurse:

    a. If the affected breast, hand, arm, or underarm (axilla) feels hot or is red or swollen
    b. If you have a temperature over 100.5° F
    c. If you want to start shaving your underarm
    d. a and b only
    e. a, b, and c

Answers

1. a Forever. Remember these precautions to help protect your arm and reduce your risk of ever getting lymphedema.

2. e b and c only. Wear gloves when working with hot or sharp objects. Do not have blood drawn or have your blood pressure taken from the affected arm. Use a sunblock (SPF 30 or higher) to prevent sunburn. Do not cut your cuticles; use lotion and a cuticle stick instead.

3. e – a, b, and c. Call your doctor or nurse. You can also raise and support your arm for 45 minutes and open and close your hand 15 to 25 times. Repeat this 2 to 3 times.

4. d a and b only. Call your doctor or nurse if you have symptoms that might mean an infection, such as if the affected arm or underarm feels hot or is red or swollen, or if you have a fever that’s not related to a cold or flu. It’s OK to shave your underarm. Just be extra careful to not cut yourself, and be sure the skin and the razor are clean.

Last Medical Review: 07/03/2013
Last Revised: 07/03/2013