Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of water and proteins in the tissues underneath the skin. It is a condition that is progressive and will only worsen if left untreated. The lymphatic system is responsible for moving fluid from the body back into the circulatory system. Lymphedema can occur when there has been damage to the lymphatic system making the transport capacity decreased.
Here in the U.S., the main cause for damage to the lymphatic system is from surgical removal of lymph nodes in cancer treatment, with breast cancer being the most common. Treatment for lymphedema involves a specific kind of massage to move fluid out of the affected areas followed by compression of the area to prevent the return of fluid to the region.