Our breast cancer rehabilitation specialists make your treatment and recovery easier. And our lymphedema therapists assess and manage post-surgery swelling.
Physical Therapy for Breast Cancer
Why do physical therapy for breast cancer? It's one of the most powerful tools we have for helping you get your precancer status back.
Physical therapy helps reduce side effects from surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Plus, it lessens the emotional fall-out after your breast cancer diagnosis. Physical therapy even improves your life after you've finished treatment.
What is lymphedema, and what causes it?
Some of the fluid in your blood leaks into the surrounding tissues. This liquid (called lymph) travels through a network of "pipes" that carry it back to your bloodstream. Sometimes fluid gets trapped, causing swelling (lymphedema) in an arm, leg, or another body part. And if left alone, lymphedema can worsen.
The good news? Our certified lymphedema therapists can spot early clues when this process is starting and step in to help. We're trained to treat and manage lymphedema so you get back to the life you want.
We use several techniques to improve lymph drainage. One method is a type of massage that coaxes fluid out of the part of the body where it's collected. Sometimes we use a state-of-the-art device to do the same job. It works something like a blood pressure cuff that automatically inflates, then deflates.
Lymphedema therapists also use bandaging and specially designed pieces of clothing to redirect pooled fluid using gentle pressure. Your therapist teaches you exercises and other strategies for promoting lymph outflow, too. These tools allow you to learn how to manage lymphedema on your own.
Why Choose Us?
Both our breast cancer physical therapy program and lymphedema clinic help give you the brightest future possible. You can trust us with your care because:
We'll work closely with your cancer care team. We meet with your care team to discuss how to best guide your care. This can give us a clearer picture, for instance, of your risk factors for lymphedema.
We have highly trained, experienced therapists. You won't see a general speech language pathologist for swallowing problems related to cancer treatment. You'll see someone who treats only patients with similar conditions. And our lymphedema therapists meet the highest standards to qualify for certification.
We'll create a care path just for you. No two patients with breast cancer are alike. We'll work with the rest of your care team to create a plan that best suits you.
What to Expect
Gentle to moderate exercise is a core part of physical therapy for breast cancer. And our specially trained physical therapists design a home program that's tailored to your abilities, needs and goals.
This kind of regular activity reduces stress and anxiety, improves sleep and makes you feel more confident. Physical therapy doesn't just improve your quality of life. It might actually help you live longer, too. Studies suggest breast cancer survival rates are better in women who exercise moderately versus those less active.
Our occupational therapists are experts at helping you return to your usual activities. For instance, surgery and chemotherapy can dull the feeling in your fingers and make them clumsier. Your occupational therapist can show you exercises to improve your ability to do everyday tasks, like tying your shoes or buttoning your shirt.
Our speech language pathologists can treat what's commonly called "chemo-brain." Symptoms include foggy thinking, concentration problems, and difficulty planning, organizing or retrieving words. Your speech therapist helps you manage or improve these issues. For instance, you might practice exercises that teach your brain new ways of doing a task. Helpful techniques you may learn include alarms and alerts to remind you when to take medication or empty the washing machine.