Some cancer survivors may experience side effects which can impact quality of life, even after treatment has ended. Because there are many side effects specific to certain types of cancer and their treatments, discuss any concerns you have with your health care provider.
The Canadian Cancer Society has information on many late and long-term side effects of treatment.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology website also has information on long-term side effects of cancer treatment.
This section provides additional information on a few common side effects.
Lymphedema is an abnormal swelling of a body part due to damage to your lymphatic system (lymph vessels and/or lymph nodes). This damage can be caused by cancer treatments (surgery, radiation) and by the cancer itself. Lymphedema can be painful and can affect the function of the swollen area. There is a lot of information about lymphedema on the internet.
The following websites provide a good overview of what lymphedema is, what the signs of lymphedema are, how to reduce your risk of developing lymphedema and how to care for yourself if you have lymphedema:
Lymphedema can occur weeks, months or years after cancer treatment. If you think you might be at risk of developing lymphedema, the resources below focus on risk reduction:
If you have signs of lymphedema, talk with your health care team. Your team may refer you to a Certified Decongestive Therapist (CDT) to have your lymphedema assessed and treated.
Here is a list of CDT’s in the region:
Swelling Solutions: Massage Therapy & Lymphedema Management Centre
665 B Belmont Ave West, Kitchener N2M 1N8
Dynamic Approach Massage Therapy
12-525 Highland Road West, Kitchener N2M 5K2
Grand River Sports Medicine
16 Andrew St., Kitchener N2H 5R2
1601 River Road East, Kitchener N2A 3Y4
Salem Massage Therapy
474 Wellington Rd. 7, Salem N0B 1S0
Dearborn Health Performance & Wellness Centre
10-105 Lexington Rd., Waterloo N2J 4R7
Local Garment Fitters/Providers
Motion Specialties1362 Victoria St. N., Kitchener, 519-885-3160
National Home Care 148 Weber St. E., Kitchener, 519-578-3188
Nu Me Boutique 825 Weber St. E., Kitchener, 519-571-9820
Ontario Home Health Care
180 Ontario St., Stratford. 519-273-5770
66 Delhi St., Guelph. 519 821-9519
1010 King St. East, Unit 116, Cambridge, 519-624-7587
Norfolk Pharmacy & Surgical Supplies
85 Norfolk St, Guelph 519-837-1820
125 Bedford Rd., Kitchener 519-895-1895
Warm Water Therapy (Cambridge)
Connie Jasinskas, M.Sc., CALA
email@example.com (Private treatment available)
W.G. Johnson Centre (Public Pool)
31 Kribs St., Cambridge, 519-740-4681 ext. 4469
Group classes, gentle aqua.
CBI Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Centre
203-1351 Bishop St., Cambridge 519-622-9093
Individualized programming in small groups after PT assessment & prescription. Thrive Cancer Recovery.
Exercise and Lymphedema:
When you have lymphedema, or you are at risk for lymphedema, there is a danger of over-exercising, so finding the right balance is important. You may want to look at the National Lymphedema Network’s position paper on exercise. The most important thing to keep in mind when you are starting an exercise program is to start slow and build on the program gradually. Monitor your body closely, watching for signs of increased lymphedema. Choose exercises that are enjoyable. Most personal trainers are unfamiliar with lymphedema, so we suggest that you share the National Lymphedema Network’s position paper on exercise to help your trainer understand lymphedema.
Living with lymphedema
The best way to live with lymphedema is to learn about it through reducing your risk of developing lymphedema, understanding the signs of lymphedema in order to assess and treat it at an early stage, and learning self-management techniques to treat your lymphedema. Again, the following websites will provide you with more information:
Lymphedema support groups
If you are interested in a support group, a monthly lymphedema support group meets in Kitchener. For more information please contact Melody Southgate at (519) 749-0102.
For a list of support groups throughout Ontario please click on the following link: