medical IDs for breast cancer

Medical IDs for Breast Cancer

related article: lymphedema

The confidence to live with breast cancer

A breast cancer diagnosis can be devastating news. The good news is that many people with breast cancer make a full recovery and live fulfilling, healthy lives after treatment.

However, some people treated for breast cancer can develop a complication called lymphedema. If your lymph nodes are compromised during a lymph node dissection, lumpectomy, mastectomy, or radiation treatment, it increases your risk of developing lymphedema – even if you have recovered from breast cancer.

Here’s what you need to know about the risk of lymphedema after breast cancer treatment and how medical IDs for breast cancer can help you manage your health.

How a medical ID for breast cancer or lymphedema protects you

One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen if there’s an emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with breast cancer or lymphedema.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Digital Health Profile

All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.

Emergency Contact Notification

In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.

Patient Instructions

Share the information that’s important to your care, such as use of rescue medications or contraindication for tests like MRIs.

Pair a medical ID for breast cancer with the protection plan that’s right for you.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer develops when cells in the breast tissue mutate. These cells do not replace other cells to produce healthy tissue. They continue to divide and eventually create a tumor.

Tumors can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are not dangerous and will not spread to other tissues. They are normally slow-growing and generally do not cause any major problems.

Malignant tumors, on the other hand, can spread from the breast to other areas of the body. Tumors are only cancerous when they are malignant. If left untreated for too long, breast cancer can be fatal as the cancer cells spread to different areas of the body and organ systems.

Treatment for breast cancer may involve surgery to remove tumors (mastectomy or lumpectomy) and affected lymph nodes, along with chemotherapy or radiation. There are other forms of treatment, as well as supplementary therapies, but these are the proven standard of care for most people with breast cancer.

What is lymphedema?

Lymphedema describes swelling in the hand, arm, torso, or breast. It is caused by a buildup of lymph fluid, usually after one or more lymph nodes have been removed or damaged. 

Symptoms include tingling, numbness, a heavy feeling, achiness, puffiness and swelling, reduced flexibility, changes in the skin, and tightness. Left untreated, lymphedema can lead to permanent swelling, hardening of the tissues, and cellulitis. There is no test or cure for lymphedema, but treatment can help manage the condition.  

As I was going into surgery, the anesthesiologist saw my MedicAlert ID and realized that he had to change his first choice for anesthesia because of my Compazine allergy. In my condition, an anaphylactic reaction to Compazine could have killed me.

Read about Nancy’s experience with breast cancer.

Why should someone get a medical ID for breast cancer?

People who have gone through breast cancer treatment are usually advised not to have their blood pressure taken on the same side as their surgery to reduce the risk of lymph fluid accumulation. Therefore, it’s important to have information on the lymphedema alert bracelet to direct first responders to perform procedures on the other arm. 

There are other reasons to have get a breast cancer medical alert bracelet, though. You may have specific health concerns after your recovery or just want the added security of emergency support. Our 24/7 emergency protection anytime, anywhere, can help you feel safer in your daily life.  

After recovering from breast cancer, most people are more than ready to move on and enjoy their lives. Ongoing health risks don’t have to prevent you from living your life to the fullest. MedicAlert Foundation has been standing by for decades to provide lifesaving assistance to our members.  

What to engrave on your MedicAlert medical IDs for breast cancer or lymphedema:

MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our breast cancer bracelets and other medical ID products. The engraving should include any critical medical information that can protect and save your life if you are in an accident or have a medical emergency, including:

  • Breast cancer type, history
  • Lymphedema, and which arm is affected
  • No procedures on LT/RT arm
  • Allergies
  • Other medical conditions
  • Medications
  • Implanted devices
  • Any additional medical information that needs to be communicated to first responders
medical IDs for breast cancer

Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for breast cancer or lymphedema.

Treatment for lymphedema

If you do develop lymphedema after breast cancer surgery, there are some treatment options that can help to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms. Most therapies are non-invasive and involve lifestyle adjustments.  

Exercise helps to promote lymph drainage and is highly recommended for people who are at high risk for developing lymphedema. Diet also plays a role in prevention and treatment. Infection can also increase the risks, so reducing the chances of infection can reduce lymphedema risk after breast cancer.  

People who are experiencing lymphedema symptoms can sometimes benefit from compression and keeping the arm raised. Massage can also be a helpful treatment for lymphedema. 

The sooner treatment is started, the better. If left untreated, the condition can lead to permanent changes in the skin and tissue.  

People who were treated for breast cancer should be aware of the symptoms so they can seek treatment for lymphedema as soon as possible. They should also consider getting a lymphedema alert bracelet or breast cancer ID for added safety and support. 

As with any medical condition, you should consult your doctor for specific instructions on managing your condition. 

The National Breast Cancer Foundation’s mission is to provide help and inspire hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education, and support services.

Why breast cancer surgery can increase lymphedema risk

Many people who develop breast cancer are unaware that lymphedema risks increase after certain types of breast cancer treatment. Surgery alone does not increase lymphedema risk. However, if lymph nodes in the underarm area are removed or treated with radiation, your lymph system may not be able to drain fluid as effectively. There is a chance that lymph fluid will build up in the future and cause problems.  

People who develop lymphedema after breast cancer treatment don’t necessarily experience problems right away. There is an increased risk for the rest of your life after the surgery. However, proper skin care and regular exercise after surgery can help reduce the risk.  

For anyone who’s had lymph nodes removed, it’s very important to take care of the arm on your affected side. You should never have blood pressure taken, blood drawn, or injections given on the side where lymph nodes were removed. Always have procedures done on your other arm. 

How a medical ID for breast cancer or lymphedema combined with MedicAlert  Membership provides 24/7 peace of mind

  • We’re your voice:  If you can’t speak for yourself due to medical emergency, your breast cancer bracelet or ID will speak for you – informing others about your condition and any medications you’re taking.

  • 24/7 emergency protection:  In an emergency, the MedicAlert team will relay all of your critical medical information to first responders, no matter where or when your emergency happens.

  • Always connected:  You should never be alone in an emergency. That’s why MedicAlert will reach out to your designated contacts if you are unable to do so.

  • Live with peace of mind and confidence:  MedicAlert will be there for you every step of the way. You’ll have the confidence and freedom to live your life with breast cancer or lympedema, knowing we’ve got you covered. 
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information in this article is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.