What's Lymph? What's Lymphedema?

Written By Alaina Cyr
a drawing of the lymphatic system
A diagram of the lymphatic system

You may already know that the lymphatic system helps you fight off infections, but the way it works is pretty amazing. Much like the circulatory system has a network of blood vessels to move blood around the body, the lymphatic system has a network of lymph vessels that moves lymph fluid around the body to help fight off infections.

When part of the lymphatic system is damaged, it can cause a problem called lymphedema. Cancer-related lymphedema usually happens when lymph nodes have been removed during surgery or treated with radiation. When the lymph nodes are damaged, it can cause a buildup of lymph fluid under the skin.

Although lymphedema is not reversible, it can be managed. Learn more about lymphedema and how to manage it: