Advice: Avoid weight gain.

Fact. Being overweight or obese doubles the risk of getting lymphedema.

“Increasing weight and obesity cause inflammation, [which] has been shown to cause lymphatic abnormalities in both patients and in animal models,” Mehrara explains. “As a result, obese patients have a decreased ability to transport lymph. The combination of this baseline decrease in lymphatic function and surgery (and radiation) increases the risk of developing lymphedema by at least twofold.”