Elephantiasis in a 40-years old patient.Chronic lymphedemaThe most lymphedema patients have a secondary, ie an acquired lymphedema. In Germany and other industrialized countries usually a tumor or a cancer operation is the cause of lymphedema. Women who had breast cancer are most commonly affected. The tumor or the treatment by surgery and radiation damage lymphatics or lymph nodes in many cases. If the cancer has spread to the lymph system, the affected lymph nodes must be removed in an operation. Other causes of lymphedema include: Severe injury with extensive soft tissue damage, inflammation, like erysipelas, insect bites or worm infestation with e.g tropical parasites and severe venous outflow disorders.Obesity and too little exercise increase the risk of developing lymphoedema significantly.