Q - Is there any dietary practice that can help to alleviate lymphedema resulting from cancer surgery (endometrial and colorectal)? It is currently stage one, and I would like to prevent it from getting worse and, hopefully, to reverse the current situtation.
Currently, there has been almost no research evaluating this very good question to help give you an easy answer to your question. It is simply not known if there is one food or dietary supplement that will be the *magic bullet* to preventing lymphedema or preventing its worsening, however, I suspect that possibility is unlikely. Some research (although not all studies agree) has shown that being overweight puts one at increased risk of developing lymphedema in the arm after lymph node dissection with breast cancer surgery. I do not know if that correlation is also seen after the types of surgeries you have had.
However, I always suggest that cancer survivors have a consultation with the Registered Dietitian at their cancer centers or in private practice to assess nutritional needs and suggest dietary changes that take into account an individualized medical history and risk factors in order to optimize all aspects of one's health. Weight control or weight loss if needed is certainly an important part of a sensible approach to optimizing health and quality of life. A Registered Dietitian is an excellent source for both information and motivation toward that important goal.
Sending you best wishes for health, healing, and hope!
FAQ posted 8/04
Nutritional Concerns during Cancer Recovery
P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI 48113