Mercy College Physical Therapy Assistant Professor Kathy Ryans was recently published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship. The article, “Rehabilitation interventions for the management of breast cancer-related lymphedema: developing a patient-center, evidence-based plan of care throughout survivorship,” provides a step-by-step intervention plan for clinicians treating individuals who are at risk for breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) or who currently have BCRL.
BCRL is abnormal swelling that can develop as a side effect of breast cancer surgery and/or treatment for breast cancer, such as radiation. In severe cases, lymphedema can lead to pain or limited mobility of the affected area.
The article takes clinical practice guidelines that were previously published by Ryans and a work group from the American Physical Therapy Association of Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy and turns them into an implementation manuscript for clinicians. The manuscript includes several flow charts and other recommendations clinicians can follow to determine risk for BCRL and establish a trajectory of care.
“The clinical implementation manuscript is meant to be a user-friendly resource for anyone in the medical field who is going to be treating a survivor of breast cancer,” explained Ryans. “We hope the article affords breast cancer survivors early treatment and intervention, and helps practitioners mitigate potential impairments that patients may experience.”
Ryans and her co-authors presented her publication at the American Physical Therapy Association’s virtual combined sections meeting, a national conference, on Thursday, February 4. She plans on sharing the implementation manuscript with her students, as well as Mercy physical therapy program alumni who are in the field and will no doubt benefit from the easy-to-follow resource when treating patients.