Understanding Lymphedema: For Cancers Other Than Breast Cancer

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What is lymphedema?

What is the lymph system?

Our bodies have a network of lymph nodes and lymph vessels that collect and carry watery, clear lymph fluid, much like veins collect and carry blood from distant parts of the body (like the arms and legs) and carry it back to the heart. Lymph fluid has proteins, salts, and water, as well as white blood cells, which help fight infections. In the lymph vessels, one-way valves work with body muscles to help move the fluid through the body. Lymph nodes are small collections of tissue that work as filters for harmful substances and help us fight infection.

Last Medical Review: 04/05/2013
Last Revised: 04/05/2013