The lymphatic system - transcript

The lymphatic system helps our bodies get rid of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials including infections and cancer cells.

It is a system of thin tubes called lymph vessels and lymph nodes or glands. These run throughout the body. The spleen, thymus, tonsils and adenoids are also
part of the lymphatic system.

Along the lymph vessels are small, bean-shaped lymph glands. You might be able to feel these in your neck, under your arm and in your groin. But they are also throughout the body including the chest, abdomen and pelvis.

The lymphatic system carries a colourless liquid called lymph. As the blood circulates around the body, fluid passes from the blood into the body tissues, carrying food to the cells. This fluid bathes the tissues, to form tissue fluid, which collects waste products, bacteria, damaged cells and cancer cells if there are any.

The fluid then drains back into the lymph vessels where it is transported towards the lymph glands. The glands then filter the lymph, taking out any harmful products. The lymph also contains lots of
white blood cells, called lymphocytes, which help us fight infections.

The lymph eventfully reaches a large vessel at the base of the neck, called the thoracic duct which passes the filtered lymph back into the blood circulation.

If the lymph vessels or nodes are blocked, removed or damaged, it can cause a build up of fluid. This can cause swelling, known as lymphoedema. For more information about lymphoedema and cancers of the lymphatic system go to Cancer Research slash lymphoedema.

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