At the Dorothy E. Schneider Cancer Center, we offer a combination of lymphedema therapy and self-care education, the only program of its type on the Peninsula.
Lymphedema, swelling in the limbs or trunk, can develop when lymph nodes are removed or radiated during cancer treatment. We first provide hands-on therapy to reduce the size of the affected limb. Then our certified therapists teach you how to manage the condition in the future.
Our therapists use Complete Decongestive Physiotherapy (CDP), a painless, noninvasive treatment that includes:
- Proper skin and nail care to reduce risk of infections
- Manual lymph drainage (MLD) – a gentle manual technique that routes lymph fluid away from the obstructed area toward adjacent functioning lymph nodes
- Specialized compression bandaging
- Remedial exercises or exercises that address related orthopedic dysfunctions and improve lymphatic flow
- Instruction in self-care techniques including self-manual lymph drainage and self-bandaging
- Compression garment fitting
Lymphedema often occurs in women with breast cancer who had part of their breast removed and lymph nodes removed from under their arms. Lymphedema may also occur in the legs after surgery for prostate cancer, lymphoma, uterine or ovarian cancer, and melanoma.
Although lymphedema cannot be cured, with the right care and treatment, it can be controlled so your limb is restored to a more normal size and shape. Left untreated, lymphedema can lead to increased swelling and a hardening of the tissue. It can also lead to chronic infections and other illnesses.
Success depends on your willingness to follow the prescribed treatments and your commitment to long-term self-management. We’re here to help you succeed.