Most people with breast cancer will be treated effectively and continue their lives. You’ll need to be diligent about follow-up care, and our patient navigators can help. But breast cancer and its treatment can take a toll on every aspect of your life, and it also affects family members, loved ones and caretakers. At Miami Cancer Institute, we’re here for you with comprehensive, compassionate follow-up care, as well as support and resources for you and the people who care for you.
Move on to the next phase of your life with help and support from Miami Cancer Institute’s Survivorship Program. You’ll find the expertise and services to deal with late and long-term effects of breast cancer and its treatment. Our comprehensive program includes help with nutrition, exercise, body image, mental health, rehabilitation and more. We can also link you with other specialists, services and resources in the community for your continuing healthcare or personal needs.
Rehabilitation after breast cancer treatment
You’ll need some help healing after breast cancer surgery and treatment. Our rehabilitation team includes physical and occupational therapists, physiatrists and other professionals who can help you rebuild strength, coordination and function, and get back to your life.
Mental health support: Psychosocial oncology
Your mind, emotions and body are closely linked, and breast cancer and its treatment can take a toll on your mental health. We’re here for you. Our team of psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers and chaplains work with you to help you overcome anxiety, depression, fear of recurrence and other issues. We can also link you with support groups and other resources to help you on your post-cancer journey.
Cancer patient support center
On the third floor of our west wing, you’ll find an 8,000 square-foot pavilion dedicated to your healing, wellness, education and recovery. Take a healthy cooking class, practice mindfulness meditation, enjoy some art or music therapy, use our computer lab, or relax with others in our central gathering room.
Boutique and Gift Shop
During and after breast cancer treatment, a little pampering and self-care can be a source of comfort and confidence. Turn to the Boutique and Gift Shop at Miami Cancer Institute. You’ll find specialty bras, bathing suits and other garments to suit every size and shape, as well as a wide range of breast prostheses. Choose a high-quality wig and have it professionally trimmed just for you, and come back any time for free styling. Our specially trained and certified professionals will give you personal attention and help you make the best choices for your needs and personal preferences.
Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment often involves the removal of one or more lymph nodes under the arm — the axillary lymph nodes. Radiation therapy can also damage these lymph nodes. When they’re not working properly, lymph fluid can collect and cause lymphedema, or chronic swelling, usually in the arm or hand and sometimes in the breast or chest wall. Lymphedema affects about 20 to 40 percent of breast cancer patients, so it’s important to be proactive. It can happen soon after treatment or years later.
Signs of lymphedema after breast cancer can include:
- Visible swelling in the arm, hand, breast or chest wall.
- Heaviness, achiness or tightness in the arm.
- Feeling weak or tired in the arm.
- Pain in the arm.
While there is no cure, lymphedema can be treated and managed effectively. The most common treatment is complete decongestive therapy (CDT). CDT uses a combination of special exercises, compression garments and manual lymph massage to move lymph fluid away from the affected area to other areas that can support drainage.
If you’ve had lymph nodes removed, you may be a candidate for lymph node transplant. The procedure involves taking healthy lymph nodes from one part of the body (called the donor site) and moving them to the area under the arm.
Ringing of the bell
A bright silver bell hangs in the lobby of Miami Cancer Institute. The ringing of the bell signals the end of active treatment. This tradition was started by rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, Irve Le Moyne, who was undergoing radiation for head and neck cancer. He planned to follow a Navy tradition of ringing a bell to signify “when the job was done.” Now nearly all facilities have a similar bell that patients can ring to mark the end of treatment.