Coping with Fluid Retention (Oedema) in Childhood Cancer

Fluid RetentionSymptom Management, Palliative Care, or Supportive Care to relieve side-effects is an important part of cancer care and treatment and should always form part of the overall treatment plan.

Oedema is swelling from excessive accumulation of watery fluid in cells, tissues, or serous cavities in the body. The fluid collects under the skin within the tissues that are outside of the circulatory system, which transports the blood throughout your body.

Oedema most commonly occurs in one’s legs and feet, but it can also occur in one’s arms, hands, face, and abdomen. When oedema occurs in the abdomen, doctors call it ascites. When it occurs around the lungs, doctors call it pleural effusion.

Individuals with oedema may experience:

  • A decrease in urine output
  • Decreased flexibility of the joints in the arms and legs, such as the ankles, wrists, and fingers
  • Indentation when pressing the skin (this does not happen when oedema is severe).
  • Puffiness, swelling, or a heavy feeling
  • Shiny, tight, or stiff skin
  • Sudden or rapid weight gain
  • The feeling that clothes, shoes, or jewellery are too tight

In order to diagnose oedema, your child’s doctor may check whether the skin over the swollen area indents when pressed. They will also probably ask you and/or your child questions about any tightness of clothes or jewellery, recent weight gain, and other symptoms.

Your child’s doctor may also schedule blood and urine tests as well as x-rays to help with the diagnosis.

Oedema management focuses on correcting the underlying cause the build-up of fluid.

Oedema caused by medication or poor nutrition is reversible in some individuals. Oedema caused by cancer or by kidney, heart, or liver problems may be more difficult to treat, and may be permanent in these situations.


Read more about the Effects, Signs and Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment and more regarding Oedema on our static page, Fluid Retention (Oedema) in Childhood Cancer



About LFCT

This is a blog about CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 12 June, 2016, in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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