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I recently saw my radiation oncologist for my annual visit. It’s the quickest and easiest of my check-ups. There are no test results, blood draws, or anything. Just a quick exam, some easy questions and I am on my way. It was more of the same this time, and my doctor was as pleasant and quick as always.

At the end of our visit, he asked me if I had my arm measured yet and I said no. He told me that he would arrange for it and insisted that I wait and have it done. As you likely know, women who have undergone surgery or radiation for breast cancer likely have had lymph nodes under the arm removed to check for metastasis. This can cause what’s known as lymphedema. After five years, I barely give the possibility a thought, but my oncologist reminded me that I need to advocate for myself and be sure to have the measurement taken.

The arm measurement is quick and completely painless, yet if caught early can be a huge help to people facing edema. My measurement showed my results were normal, and I was finished with my appt. The situation begs the question: why do I not ask for this simple test to be done? I know I have written before about being your own advocate, but it is just so easy to forget sometimes. This was just a gentle reminder for me to stay the course when it comes to managing my health care.

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