Breast Cancer Survivorship: UCSF Lymphedema Education and Prevention Program
The Faculty of the UCSF/SFSU Graduate Program in Physical Therapy and UCSF Physical Therapy Faculty Practice provide guidance, education, and exercise training for patients at risk for developing lymphedema and other musculoskeletal impairments after treatment for breast cancer.
Strength after Breast Cancer: The Strength After Breast Cancer (SABC) program is a series of 5 classes for patients who have been cleared for exercise after breast cancer treatment, who are at risk for getting lymphedema, or who have stable lymphedema (meaning it's under control - not getting worse - and not under active lymphedema treatment - i.e. bandaging). The first session consists of a physical therapy assessment of posture, arm strength and range of motion, and arm circumference. Then we begin the exercises. We start with breathing and "core" exercise (abdominal and trunk strengthening exercises), and stretching. In the 2nd session we add gradually progressive strengthening exercises for the upper and lower body. We start light (2 to 3 pounds) and progress slowly and monitor symptoms and swelling. The class in once per week but we provide guidance on doing the exercises at home. At session 5 we re-evaluate strength, range of motion, and arm circumference again. Class size is limited and registration is required.
Lymphedema Research Study Enrolling Women with Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema
Researchers in the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at the University of California, San Francisco are conducting a study to learn if treatment with a new negative pressure massage device is safe and effective, compared to manual lymphatic drainage massage, at improving swelling, skin condition, and movement in the arms of women with lymphedema.
UCSF lymphedema and exercise videos and resources:
- Exercise video for patients who have completed the SABC exercise class (Password Protected)
- Arm Lymphedema Self Massage - video
- Managing Lymphedema After Breast Cancer - video
- Moving Through Cancer - exercise booklet
- Exercise counseling for UCSF patients with cancer
Additional information on lymphedema can be found here:
- UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
- The National Lymphedema Network
- The National Cancer Institute
- Sunflower Wellness - information on living through cancer with exercise and available classes
Wherever you work, it's important to understand the basics of ergonomics so that you can avoid the risk of repetitive motion injuries. You can minimize the risk by maintaining good posture and positioning, optimizing your work station set-up, and incorporating mini-breaks and task rotation. This video includes recommendations for:
- Working at a computer
- Working at a microscope
- Working at a hood