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For many people, getting back to normal after surgery is straightforward.
For others, depending on how much their surgery has affected them, or if they’re having other treatment, it may be more complicated. In time, and with the right support, people often find that they can adjust to any changes.
After treatment for melanoma, it’s very important to avoid exposing your skin to strong sunlight. This reduces the chance of developing another melanoma. Protecting yourself from the sun doesn’t mean that you can no longer enjoy sunshine or have holidays in sunny countries. You’ll need to take sensible precautions though, which will in time become part of your normal routine. You can read more about what you can do to protect your skin in our section on melanoma treatment with local surgery|.
After the lymph nodes have been removed by surgery, there’s a risk that you could develop swelling in an arm or leg (or other part of the body). This will be on the same side that the lymph nodes were removed from, and is called lymphoedema|. You have a greater risk of getting lymphoedema if you have both surgery and radiotherapy| to your lymph nodes. It can develop a few weeks or several years after treatment.
Lymphoedema can be improved by special massage techniques, exercises, bandaging and support stockings. Many hospitals have a nurse or physiotherapist who specialises in treating lymphoedema. The earlier treatment for lymphoedema is started, the more likely it is to be successful, so let your doctor know if you notice even mild swelling of your leg or arm.
You may it helpful to check out our section on lymphoedema|. It includes information on prevention, skin care, exercise and more.
We also have videos that explains the condition|, give advice on compression garments|, and tell Irene and Betty's stories of living with lymphoedema|.
Content last reviewed: 1 February 2012
Next planned review: 2014
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
I've been living with lymphoedema for 16 years. Watch Irene's story of coping with lymphoedema.|
I've been living with lymphoedema for 16 years.
Watch Irene's story of coping with lymphoedema.|
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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