Breast cancer patients often undergo surgery, radiotherapy and the removal of lymph nodes. This can result in long term symptoms and side effects.
This occurs in particular after a lumpectomy or mastectomy surgery, and the removal of lymph nodes from the axilla (armpit area) in a sentinel node biopsy (SNB) or axillary node dissection (AND).
It is common to experience a variety of side effects after the removal of lymph nodes from their axilla or armpit region. The most commonly known side effect is lymphedema which is where the arm no longer drains fluids as it used to, resulting in swelling or oedema in the arm. This occurs in approximately 20% of patients with lymph node removal. However a far more common side effect of this type of surgery is actually something called “Lymphatic cording” or axillary web syndrome.
Cording refers to a ropelike structure that develops mainly under the axilla but can extend to involve the medial aspect of the arm down to the inside of the elbow. It is a thickening of tissue that feels and behaves like rope or cord underneath the skin. This then can result in restricted movement of the shoulder, arm and thorax or chest.
At Restore we use osteopathy techniques to gently break down corded tissue, and improve our patients range of motion through their chest, axilla, arm and shoulder. This is particularly important after a course of radiotherapy which can lead to additional tissue restriction and increase the risk of cording occurring or returning. We also prescribe specific movements and exercises to help patients improve their mobility and reduce pain and stiffness.
Our osteopath for oncology patients is Amanda Hannaford, who is very experienced in caring for patients with cording issues . She also practices at the Northern Beaches Breast Clinic in a multi-disciplinary team with Surgical Oncologists to assist breast cancer patients with issues such as cording that can arise subsequent to treatment.
Amanda is not available for booking online in order to prioritise breast cancer patients. For an appointment please call Restore on (02) 9439 3333.