What is edema?
Edema (uh-DEE-muh) is swelling caused by the buildup of abnormal amounts of fluid in your body. Edema may also be called fluid retention. Fluid may collect in your legs, arms, feet, hands, lungs, heart, or abdomen. Severe edema can cause your kidneys, heart, and lungs to be overworked or damaged. Symptoms of edema include swelling or puffiness of your face, hands, feet, legs, or around your eyes.
Ascites (uh-SIE-tees) is a related problem where abnormal amounts of fluid collect in your stomach or abdomen. Symptoms of ascites include swelling or puffiness of your abdomen or stomach, tight or shiny skin over your stomach, feeling full sooner than normal during meals, or being able to see the veins on the skin of your stomach.
Why would I have edema?
People with cancer are at an increased risk for edema for several reasons, including the following:
Chemotherapy drugs that often cause edema include aldesleukin, anagrelide, arsenic trioxide, bexarotene, cyclosporine, liposomal cytarabine, denileukin diftitox, docetaxel, gemcitabine, imatinib, leuprolide, muromonab CD3, rabbit antithymocyte globulin, temozolomide, and thalidomide.
Other medications that are used in cancer patients can also cause edema, including anastrozole, bicalutamide, darbopoetin, oprelvekin, sargramostim, corticosteroids (prednisone, methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone), anabolic steroids (fluoxymesterone, testosterone, methyltestosterone), progestins (megestrol, medroxyprogesterone), and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents (ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen, rofecoxib, celecoxib).
Edema caused by cancer may be permanent. Edema caused by medications or poor nutrition is usually temporary and goes away after you stop treatment and your nutrition improves. However, edema can be permanent in patients with heart, lung, or kidney problems.
When should I call my doctor?
Call your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse if you are worried or have questions about edema.
Call your doctor at once if you have any of the following symptoms:
What can I do to relieve symptoms of edema?
What things should I AVOID while I have edema?
What should I know about medicine for edema?
Medicine for edema is used to increase the amount of water you pass in your urine and can be swallowed by mouth. Ask your doctor or pharmacist which type of medicine you need.
Take the dose of medicine your doctor prescribes. Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before changing your dose if you need more or less medicine.
These patient information materials should be used in conjunction with verbal counseling. They are not intended as the sole source of information patients receive about managing cancer therapy complications.
From the Cancer Chemotherapy Manual, © 2001, University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, Salt Lake City, UT. Published by Facts and Comparisons, St Louis, MO, www.drugfacts.com