Q: What are the red and inflamed blotches that have appeared on my arm after having undergone breast cancer surgery?


A: The removal of lymph nodes cause lymphatic insufficiency, which can predispose the arm to inflammation and infection (lymphangitis)


Typical signs and symptoms include:

  • Redness of the skin (patches)
  • Localized heat or rise in body temperature (fever)
  • Pain and sudden increase in watery fluid in the body’s tissues (edema)


Episodes of lymphangitis can be repeated and are generallycaused by trauma to the limbs (insect bites, minor wounds, direct exposure to heat) or allergic reactions. In such cases, drug therapy may be required and speaking with a physician (breast cancer specialist) is recommended.