Lymphedema overview

One side effect of cancer treatment that patients may experience is lymphedema. Lymphedema is the swelling that sometimes occurs because of lymph node removal or radiation treatment. 

SCCA provides services and treatment options for lymphedema that current patients are encouraged to take advantage of, including:

  • An experienced team of physical therapists who are all Certified Lymphedema Therapists (CLTs). Their role in treating lymphedema is twofold. First, for patients  at risk of lymphedema, our therapists will provide education on signs/symptoms of lymphedema, how to reduce the risk of developing lymphedema and instruction in self lymphatic  massage. And second, for patients who have lymphedema, our therapists will instruct on how to best reduce and better manage the swelling.
  • Shine, a specialty gift and oncology services store located at SCCA House in South Lake Union that specializes in compression garments for lymphedema.
  • New surgical options that may help to make the most severe lymphedema symptoms easier to manage.

Patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and come to SCCA’s multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Specialty Center have baseline arm circumferential measurements taken prior to treatment to better assess for any early signs of lymphedema. They are then followed routinely for the first two years after surgery.  

If you’re a current patient and would like to learn more about lymphedema treatment at SCCA, talk to your care team about a referral.

SCCA’s Physical Therapy department is located on the 4th floor of the SCCA Clinic on Lake Union and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Our Staff

At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Physical Therapists work as part of the care team with a patient's doctors, nurses and other specialists. Patients who have secondary lymphedema can be seen at the SCCA clinic by one of our Certified Lymphedema Therapists.

Sera and Robert talk about exercising during treatment and the SCCA Physical Therapists who helped them do it.


Patients who have been treated at SCCA can be seen in the physical therapy department by one of our Certified Lymphedema Specialists, who are trained in teaching patients how to manage lymphedema.