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Lymphedema Therapy for Breast Cancer Patients
Did you know…
- In the United States, 1 in 8 women will experience a breast cancer diagnosis during their lifetime.
- Approximately 30% of all new cancer diagnoses in women are breast cancer.
- 1 out of 100 of those diagnosed are men.
- There are over 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
Breast cancer survivors commonly experience many issues that can be helped with physical therapy. These may include, but are not limited to:
- Frozen shoulder
- Decreased range of motion in the neck
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Axillary chord syndrome
- Post-mastectomy reconstructive syndrome
ROSE Program at ACCESS Physical Therapy & Wellness
Several ACCESS PT locations offer a comprehensive individual treatment program appropriate for all phases of breast cancer rehab. Our goal is to Restore Optimal Strength and Energy for each patient we meet.
The goals of the ROSE program include:
- Restore range of motion in neck, shoulder, chest and back.
- Decrease pain and stiffness in your chest, back and shoulder/neck muscles
- Improve function of hand wrist shoulder and neck
- Reduce scar tissue from treatment
- Decrease nerve pain
- Increase endurance
- Educate patients on proper under garment fitting (no wire bras)
- Teach a home exercises program to carry over treatment and meet goals
What to expect at your first visit?
You will meet one on one with one of our certified lymphedema therapists to review your personal goals for therapy. Our staff will work with your oncology team to ensure your goals are met. We work together to restore your strength, range of motion and function. We will take measurements at the initial evaluation to track progress towards your goals, and provide lots of education! Therapeutic and neuromuscular training can help build strength and energy to enable you to participate in the activities most important to you!
Did you schedule a surgery with your breast surgeon? Should you meet with an ACCESS PT Certified Lymphedema Therapist before the surgery?
YES! We will perform a pre-op ROSE program evaluation to get baseline measurements, and save your chart for the future. THEN you can come back to physical therapy when your doctor clears you and we can focus on restoring your optimal strength and energy!
What is Cancer Related Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is most commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. It results from a blockage in your lymphatic system, which is part of your immune system. The blockage prevents lymph fluid from draining well, and the fluid buildup leads to swelling, which may develop immediately, or years after your treatment. Education and maintenance are key in managing lymphedema. Swelling is dangerous and can lead to many other health related issues, included but not limited to cellulitis infection, decrease use of upper extremity, pain, and severe nerve related issues that are debilitating. It is vital to find a therapist who is certified in lymphedema therapy. Being educated and re-routing your fluid properly is key!
Gold Standard of Care for Lymphedema
- Manual Lymphatic Drainage: performed by a trained certified lymphedema therapist to move the fluid out of your extremity safely.
- Exercise: stretching and range of motion exercises to meet goals set by patient and therapist
- Skin Care: Patient Education on proper skin care to avoid infections. Infections may be brought upon by: Dry Skin, Sunburn, Cellulitis, bug bites, tight fitted clothing, blood pressure cuffs, needles etc.
- Compression: Bandaging and compression sleeves
Goals of Lymphedema Therapy
- To remove fluid and protein from affected area
- Prevent permanent stretching of lymphatic vessels
- Improve Range of Motion of your hand wrist and elbow
- Provide patient education to help you manage your symptoms at home
External compression and treatment will be necessary for a lifetime to maintain normal fluid flow. As there is currently no cure for lymphedema, the ACCESS PT team believes education and maintenance are KEY to managing lymphedema symptoms and helping patients achieve maximum functionality.
The skilled physical therapists at all of ACCESS PT’s 50+ locations can treat orthopedic conditions related to breast cancer treatment, such as range of motion issues, shoulder stiffness, weakness, and pain. In addition, we offer lymphedema therapy at our Armonk location, and the ROSE program (including lymphedema therapy) is currently offered at the following ACCESS PT locations:
Whether you are currently experiencing lymphedema or other breast cancer related issues, or you want to start therapy as a preventative measure, ACCESS PT’s expert physical therapists are here to help! Our goal is to help you regain function quickly and safely, improving your quality of life and getting you back to your normal activities as soon as possible.