Breast Cancer: A Reason to Wear Medical ID

Posted on October 2, 2017 by kerri
Breast cancer awareness bracelet--stainless steel with pink satin ribbon within chain, with breast cancer ribbon charm center.
Our Breast Cancer Awareness Bracelet

While all cancer patients and survivors should wear a cancer medical ID bracelet, this is especially important of breast cancer survivors who can develop a condition called lymphedema as a result of treatment, tumor removal, or mastectomy surgery. Sometimes, breast cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, and these nodes must be removed, resulting in lymphedema, swelling in the limb affected by damaged or removed lymph nodes. [1] Since lymph nodes help drain lymphatic fluid within the body, their removal—while necessary—can affect the limbs in proximity to the removed nodes. [1] Lymph nodes can also become damaged from steroid treatment or radiation, which may be temporary or permanent. [1, 2]

Depending on the treatment, either the left or right arm can be affected, or both arms may be affected by lymphedema. Lymphedema can cause swelling, feelings of tightness, heaviness, or achy-ness in the affected limb, and the arm may have restricted movement, or be prone to developing infections. [1] Why does this necessitate a medical ID bracelet? The impaired ability of the limb to drain fluid can be impaired by blood pressure cuffs or IVs/dressings/tapes in an emergency situation [2]—wearing a breast cancer/lymphedema alert bracelet is important for this reason, so that health care providers can choose your unaffected arm for measuring blood pressure, or use another site like your thigh, to avoid worsening lymphedema and to achieve an accurate reading. [2]
For all cancer patients, it is important to wear medical ID jewelry if you are on treatment—some survivors may have after-effects of treatment that may make wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace necessary for the long term. If you are on chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and especially if you are participating in a clinical trial, you should wear medical ID jewelry. If you have a central venous access port or PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) identifying this on a medical ID bracelet can help improve your care, enabling quicker IV access both during routine care and in an emergency.
We have a variety of styles of medical ID jewelry to fit all tastes and lifestyles—from bracelets and necklaces to keychains and sports bands. If you don’t have breast cancer but support or care for someone who does, make sure you check out our breast cancer awareness items this October.

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