At the Mary Jo Cropper Family Center for Breast Care, our highly trained staff monitors all cancer patients in order to minimize the chance of lymphedema swelling or – at the very least – catch the swelling early enough to successfully treat it. If treatment is needed, our experts work closely with you and your physician to develop an individualized, effective care plan for you.
Lymphedema, an arm swelling that may arise following breast cancer treatment, reportedly affects up to 20 percent of breast cancer survivors. It occurs when the lymphatic system in the axillary (armpit) area is damaged by surgery or radiation therapy. Medical research has shown that the condition can be diagnosed four times earlier when patients are routinely monitored and are educated to perform manual lymphatic drainage.
We monitor all of our cancer patients and have a team of physical therapists who are specially trained and certified in complex decongestive therapy (CDT), which helps treat lymphedema.
From a comprehensive fitness program to manual lymph drainage, the Lymphedema Program at TriHealth offers a full range of services for everyone. Our highly trained team works closely with you and your physician to design a coordinated, individualized plan of care that meets your specific needs.
We use a comprehensive, research-based treatment approach that may include any or a combination of the following:
If left untreated, it creates an environment of stagnant, protein-rich fluid causing lymph channels to increase in size and number. It reduces oxygen tension throughout the transport system, interferes with wound healing, and provides an environment for bacteria, increasing the potential for infection. If the condition of swelling and inflammation persists, the tissue eventually thickens and hardens. This leads to decreased active motion, which will reduce functional use of the arm or leg and can intensify the problem.