Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy
As you move toward the treatment and recovery phase of your breast cancer journey, you may have concerns about your day-to-day activities, physical function and mobility. At the USC Breast Center, your team includes experts in the fields of occupational therapy and physical therapy, who will assess your condition before and after surgery and will craft a rehabilitation plan customized to your unique medical and lifestyle needs.
Our multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to breast cancer care aims to help patients understand and adapt to the challenges they may face, such as fatigue, limited mobility, loss of balance, pain management and lymphedema. Our occupational and physical therapists proactively create solutions to these issues, so you can focus your energy on the path to recovery.
- Comprehensive evaluations
- Customized plans to optimize well-being
- Lymphedema prevention and care
- Patient education
A rehabilitation plan just for you
Occupational and physical therapists help patients address day-to-day function, mobility and health, including a plan focused on posture, strength, flexibility, function and endurance. Our occupational and physical therapists will assess you before and after breast cancer surgery — whether the procedure is a mastectomy, lumpectomy or a double mastectomy — and will continue your care after surgery and into recovery.
Our experts work in tandem with your breast cancer team to create a rehabilitation plan customized to your unique surgical and lifestyle needs. Our occupational therapists will be on hand after surgery to help you practice daily routines, such as mobility in and out of bed, bathing, dressing and transfers in the bathroom. They will provide recommendations on how to best adapt to your environment during recovery at home, along with postoperative precautions and exercises that will help optimize your function and independence.
Our physical therapists will help you regain your range, strength, posture, balance and endurance so that you can return to your daily activities, including home, work and recreation. In addition, our experts will provide education and guidance on how to prepare for side effects associated with radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Your personalized rehabilitation plan will be continuously streamlined, as you transition from treatment to survivorship.
Lymphedema prevention and care
Some patients may develop lymphedema, if lymph nodes are removed during breast cancer surgery or following radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Although not all breast cancer patients will experience lymphedema, our team believes in the importance of proactive care. Our occupational and physical therapists offer individualized consultations and order compression sleeves for patients prior to breast cancer surgery — a preventive measure that may reduce the progression of lymphedema. If lymphedema develops, our experts will create a treatment plan designed to reduce swelling (via manual therapy, compression therapy, exercise and education); improve range of motion, function and strength; and minimize the possibility of bacterial infection. Each patient will be given a personal plan for lymphedema management that suits their specific diagnosis and everyday activities.
Breast cancer treatment can lead to questions about your mobility, function and how to adapt your day-to-day activities. Our occupational and physical therapists are ready to answer any questions you may have — from what bra to wear or how to carry your toddler to how to implement healthy habits and handle changes in physical endurance and strength. Our goal is to give you the tools you need, as you make the journey toward recovery.
- Minnie Jan, DPT, PT
- Michelle Hsia Lee, OTD, ORT/L, CLT
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