If you’ve had a mastectomy, or a lumpectomy with radiation therapy, the Post-Operative Breast Surgery Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper will help you feel and function better. Physical therapists who are sensitive to your needs will work with you to develop a rehabilitation program tailored to your medical situation, lifestyle, and goals.
Our comprehensive individualized rehabilitation program can help you:
- Increase your mobility
- Decrease your pain
- Restore your normal function
- Regain your strength
- Increase your aerobic capacity and endurance
- Improve scar and skin mobility
- Lower your risk for lymphedema (arm swelling).
Physical therapists who are sensitive to your needs are available at two convenient locations in Voorhees and Camden.
Compassionate, One-On-One Care
Our physical therapists are experienced in working with women with breast cancer. Your therapist will work with you one-on-one to develop a rehabilitation program tailored to your medical situation, lifestyle, and goals. Your rehabilitation program will include:
- Hands-on manual therapy
- A structured exercise program:
- Aerobic equipment
- Weight (isotonic) machines, resistive bands, and free weights
- A core stabilization program (your “core” [torso] muscles help you stay balanced, move more efficiently, and improve your posture, while reducing the risk of injury)
- Education on ways to lower your risk for lymphedema*
- Instruction in a home exercise and self-care program.
* Patients who have had surgery that includes removal of axillary (armpit) lymph nodes or radiation therapy for breast cancer may be at risk for developing lymphedema, a chronic, lifelong condition. The surgical removal of axillary lymph nodes and / or radiation therapy in the axillary region can adversely affect the flow of lymphatic fluid in the arm and breast area, causing abnormal accumulation of this protein-rich fluid in the arm. The excess lymphatic fluid builds up, causing swelling called lymphedema. The best way to manage lymphedema is to prevent it. Our program will teach you the signs of lymphedema and ways to reduce your risk for developing it.
How the Post-Operative Breast Surgery Program Works
You can start your post-operative breast surgery rehabilitation program as soon as your doctor says you’re ready. Some women start as early as two or three weeks after surgery. You can participate in your rehabilitation program during other cancer treatment, or after you’ve completed your treatment.
The length of the program and number of visits is tailored to your individuals needs and goals. Some people only require one visit, while others may attend therapy a couple of times per week. Your physical therapist will work with you to come up with a plan to meet your goals.
Most types of insurance cover cancer rehabilitation services. For individuals who have had a mastectomy, the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 requires group health plans that cover mastectomies to also cover post-operative rehabilitation services.
Post-Operative Breast Surgery Program Offices
Cooper Post-Operative Breast Surgery Program offices in South Jersey and the Delaware Valley include:
Cooper Physical and Occupational Rehabilitation at Voorhees
900 Centennial Boulevard
Building 2, Suite 203
Voorhees, New Jersey 08043
MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper
Cooper University Hospital
One Cooper Plaza
Camden, NJ 08103