EpicentRx Word of the Week: Lymphedema

Nov 13, 2023

“Did you know that the Brits spell edema with an ‘o’?”

“You say oedema, I say edema, let’s call the whole thing off.”

Lymphedema noun


Also called: lymphatic obstruction


Localized tissue swelling from the accumulation of protein-rich lymph fluid due to the removal of lymph nodes or to the blockage or destruction of lymphatics from cancer or cancer treatment, for example.

Example sentences:

“The lymphatics act like a drain in your sink. If the drain is clogged or removed, the fluid cannot drain, and the result is lymphedema. Most often lymphedema occurs in the arms or legs.”

Lymphedema is a chronic disease from increased collection of lymphatic fluid, causing swelling, which can lead to skin and tissue changes. The chronic, progressive accumulation of protein-rich fluid within the tissues exceeds the capacity of the lymphatic system to transport the fluid. Swelling associated with lymphedema can occur anywhere in the body, including the arms, legs, genitals, face, neck, chest wall, and oral cavity.”

Lymphedema is sometimes caused by inflammation, obstruction, or the removal of the lymphatics. Lymphedema is also associated with the expression of the cytokine, TGF-β, in cancer.”


The AdAPT-001 oncolytic adenovirus, which is intratumorally injected, has significantly reduced lower extremity lymphedema in several cancer patients.

About the Word:

Lymphedema compounds the words lymph, meaning a clear yellowish fluid containing white cells, and edema or swelling.