Lymphedema Management Program

Lymphedema Management Program

Lymphedema is swelling, occurring when the lymphatic system has been disrupted due to surgery, radiation, infection, disease, or trauma and cannot move it’s fluid and proteins well. The Prisma Health Cancer Institute Lymphedema Management Program helps patients prevent and control lymphedema that is related to cancer. Treatment depends on the severity and extent of the condition. Physician referral is required for evaluation by our specially trained and certified physical therapists.

Possible Signs of Lymphedema

  • A full or heavy sensation in an arm or leg
  • An increase in size in an arm or a leg
  • Skin feels tight
  • Clothes or jewelry do not fit well on one side
  • Hardness/ firmness in an arm or leg
  • Weeping from the skin

Complete Decongestive Therapy

If lymphedema does develop, patients can be seen by the physical therapist who will use some of the following methods:

  • Manual lymphatic drainage to decrease swelling in an affected area
  • Use of short stretch bandaging to decrease limb size, pitting, and fibrosis
  • Education on appropriate skin care
  • Self manual lymphatic drainage
  • Appropriate exercises to promote lymphatic drainage
  • Recommendations for compression garments.

Free Pre-surgery Screening for Lymphedema

A pre-surgical appointment for breast cancer patients is free to measure the arm size prior to surgery. These measurements are done with a perometer. Perometers use an infrared light to painlessly measure the volume of an arm or leg. Measuring the arm with a perometer is non-invasive, painless and extremely accurate. These measurements can be compared to arm dimensions after your surgery to detect early lymphedema. Serial measurement can also be performed to monitor increase and decreases in fluid volume in the arm. Measurements taken by the perometer are much more accurate than the older method of using a measuring tape.

*The fee for physical therapy evaluation and management (except the pre-surgery measurement which is free) will be billed to your insurance provider. Depending on your policy, a co-payment may be required at the visit.

Monthly Lymphedema Education Classes

Community based classes for patients and their families on lymphedema education. Classes are held at the Prisma Health Cancer Institute, 1st Floor Conference Room, located at 900 W. Faris Rd., Entrance 8. Classes are held the second Wednesday of each month at 10am, and the fourth Thursday of each month at 1 p.m. Classes are free. Cancer survivors are encouraged to attend these classes before, during, and after their treatment to learn more about lymphedema. For more information contact Breast Nurse Navigator Cheryl Jones, RN, OCN, ONN-CG at 864-455-2865. Instructors: Kathie Beldon, PT, CLT-LANA, and Beth Alexander, PT, DPT, CWS, CLT

Healthy Moves Class

Have lymphedema? Join us for this free exercise class. Healthy Moves combines gentle physical therapy exercise with flowing movements, music, encouragement in a group setting, and empowerment through information and education. Class can be performed either seated or standing to accommodate fatigue levels. Benefits include: stimulation of the lymphatic system, increased joint range of motion, decreased pain, and increased energy. Class takes place every Tuesday, 11 a.m.-noon, in the ITOR classroom (can be accessed through the elevator in the parking garage – 3rd Floor) at the Prisma Health Cancer Institute located at 900  W. Faris Rd., Entrance 8. Registration is required. For more information or to register, please call the instructor Elisa May, PTA, LMT, CLT-UE at 864-616-4003

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