Skip to main content


This is the official website for Lymphoedema Wales Clinical Network (LWCN).

You will find information on this website in relation to lymphoedema itself, how it can be better managed and the Network’s role in facilitating this in Wales.


What is lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is a long-term condition that causes swelling in the body's tissues, usually in the arms or legs.

It occurs when there is a problem with the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and glands that remove excess fluid and fight infection. There are two types: primary (which is genetic), and secondary - caused by damage to the lymphatic system as a result of infection, injury, inflammation, cancer treatment, or lack of movement.

Across the UK, lymphoedema is estimated to affect more than 450,000 people and whilst there is no cure, it's usually possible to minimise fluid build-up. Treatments include wearing compression garments, taking good care of the skin, moving and exercising regularly, having a healthy diet and lifestyle, and using specialised massage techniques.

Lymphoedema affects individuals physically, psychologically, functionally and socially. 

It can have a significant impact on quality of life and the ability to undertake normal day to day activities. However when it is managed properly - and coupled with an improved understanding of the condition itself - people with lymphoedema can learn to better self-manage and apply simple treatment strategies that will help maximise their independence and significantly reduce the risk of their lymphoedema getting worse.