Lymphedema Treatment Program

Specialized Lymphedema Treatment at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center

Cancer survivors who have undergone surgery or radiation treatment, or both, can be at risk for developing lymphedema, a build-up of lymph fluid in the fatty tissues just beneath the skin. This build up causes swelling, or edema, in parts of the body, most often the arms and legs. It can also lead to dangerous infections.

The most common form of lymphedema results from cancer treatment. Breast cancer patients are at particular risk for developing lymphedema following lymph node removal and/or radiation treatment. The Disney Family Cancer Center offers a specialized Lymphedema Treatment Program for cancer patients that calls upon the latest techniques.

Lymphedema Treatment Techniques

Originally established in 1999 at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, the Lymphedema Treatment Program, now at the Disney Family Cancer Center, focuses on meeting the patient's needs with a customized treatment plan that calls upon a range of rehabilitation techniques. Treatment of lymphedema strives to maximize recovery and quality of life.

"Although there is no cure for lymphedema, it can be managed through a range of techniques," explains Julianne Courtenay, Manager Physical and Occupational Therapy, Oncology Rehabilitation at the Disney Family Cancer Center. These include:

  • Manual lymphatic drainage
  • Exercise (Decongestive and strengthening)
  • Bandaging
  • Joint mobilization
  • Kinesio taping
  • Custom or Ready made compression garments, with onsite fitting
  • Scar tissue modification/mobilization
  • Activities of daily living skills training
  • Intermittent sequential vaso-pneumatic pump use
  • Education program for self management

Oncology Rehabilitation also hosts a weekly exercise class for lymphedema patients, Healthy Steps, at the Disney Family Center.

In addition, the team can coordinate care with other related departments to treat any secondary conditions that may arise as a result of lymphedema.

Experienced, Compassionate Treatment

Manual Lymph Drainage, a specialized hands on technique, applies a light pressure to improve lymphatic flow. In conjunction with multilayer bandaging as indicated, are considered the gold standard for lymphedema management.

Cheryl Pranskevich, supervisor of Oncology Rehabilitation, evaluates patients for treatment and performs these specialized techniques. She received her certification in the Leduc Method of Lymphedema Management from Stanford University Hospital.

"Cheryl is a cancer survivor herself and she has a special bond with our patients," Courtenay points out. "Her experience and compassion are unmatched. She has an intimacy with our patients that is rare."

Referral for Lymphedema Treatment

Contact the Oncology Rehabilitation directly at 818-748-4751 for a referral to the Lymphedema Program, or request a prescription from your doctor.

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