Woman in agony as arm starts swelling 'uncontrollably' due to incurable condition

By Charlotte Hadfield

A woman battling cancer was left in agony due to an incurable condition which has caused her arm to swell "uncontrollably."

Helena Staniszewska, originally from Poland and now living in Bootle, started suffering from lymphedema - a chronic condition that causes swelling in the body's tissues, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The 37-year-old was told she had cancer after finding a lump in her breast in July 2020 and was admitted to Aintree Hospital to have the tumour removed.

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After a scan in April this year, Helena received the devastating news that the cancer had spread to her right arm and she was admitted for a further operation to have all 15 lymph nodes removed.

Soon after the operation, Helena's arm and fingers began to swell and she has now lost use of them all together due to the lymphedema which has also spread to her breast.

Translating on Helena's behalf, friend Bartosz Frankowski, 17, said: "The pain that she's got in her arm, she says you can't describe it.

"Her arm is a couple of centimetres wider and bigger than it was before it started and the same with her breast - it's solid.

"She can't move her arm and fingers so cooking, washing, or do anything really with her right arm - and she's right handed - she has to try and do it from her left."

"Her breast is getting bigger and more solid and it's also painful."

Helena still needs to undergo chemotherapy to treat the cancer, which was put on hold after her mum fell ill and she flew to Poland to look after her.

She started receiving treatment for the lymphedema in April which involved having the fluid drained from her arm once a week.

But things soon went from bad to worse, when her arm and fingers started swelling "uncontrollably" to the point that they felt "like they were going to burst."

Helena can no longer have the fluid drained in her arm because it's moved to a place that doctors can't operate on and she's been told is could continue to grow in size.

With limited other treatment available to her on the NHS, other than painkillers and a compression garment, Helena is now seeking treatment privately.

She is hoping to raise enough money to have a lymph node transplant at the Spire Manchester Hospital.

Bartosz said: "Right now she feels useless and she's in so much pain she can't sleep at night.

"She can't move a finger, she can't do anything with that arm and to try and do the normal things that she likes doing, she can't because that arm won't move.

"All she really wants right now is to finally stop that pain and the only way to do that is to raise the funds for that private operation."

To visit Helena's Go Fund Me page click here.

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