The 2018 research results by Lymphatic Research and Biology https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30339481 have found that prescribing compression to patients in the two year recovery period post mastectomy and lymph node dissection reduces the risk of developing lymphedema. So, armed with this information we must deduce that (at least for breast cancer patients) it is never too soon to start the compression.
But ask any lymphedema therapist and they will agree that it is not easy to get patients to wear compression when there is visible swelling, never mind patients with no clinical symptoms. The results of this study make it important though for us to inform our patients, as we do about other risk reduction practices. (Risk Reduction: Do’s and Don’ts).