Lymphedema Care

“After cancer surgery I knew that it was going to be a ‘new normal,’ but I wanted that new normal to be as close to the old normal as possible. I’m a walker, and the therapy helped me get back to my normal activities a lot quicker.” - Melanoma patient

Video: LYMPHEDEMA: Risk Reduction, Exercises, & Self Manual Lymph Drainage 2015” If you want to see exercises go to 17:00min, and Self Manual Lymph Drainage at 30.00 min

Our lymphedema team helps patients and families learn to recognize the signs of lymphedema and manage them, and individualizes treatment for each patient.

The UNC Comprehensive Cancer Support Program Lymphedema program includes 3 certified lymphedema therapists:  Val Collins, PT, CLT-LANA, Sherin Joseph, DPT, CLT (who speaks Spanish and Malyayalam!) and Jennifer R. Harrington, PT, DPT, WCS, CLT.  All 3 are members of UNC Health Care’s Department of Rehabilitation Therapies at the Center for Rehabilitation Care. They  see UNC patients as well as those from across the Triangle area.

Lymphedema is a buildup of fluid in the skin of an arm or leg or in your chest, breast, head or neck. Lymphedema happens when damage occurs to this lymphatic system and lymph cannot move through the body. This can happen after cancer treatments, including surgery and radiation. Lymphedema can happen in the first few months of cancer treatments or it may happen months to years later. 

The affected area may have the following symptoms:

To learn more about lymphedema click here.  If you are having signs of lymphedema, let your UNC Cancer Team know right away. Ask your doctor for a referral to the Lymphedema Clinic or call 984-974-9700. Our certified lymphedema therapists at UNC Health Care are able to determine how best to treat your swelling.