Move. Feel. Thrive.

Breast Cancer Rehabilitation

Physical Therapy is an integral part of breast cancer rehabilitation. Those undergoing treatments for breast cancer often face surgery. Physical therapists can work with women to alleviate symptoms caused by surgical intervention or medical treatment for cancer.

Our therapists can help:

  • Reduce Pain
  • Improve Strength
  • Mobility & Flexibility

Breast Cancer Rehabilitation at The Jackson Clinics, Physical Therapy

 At The Jackson Clinics, our goal is to assist you through the course of cancer treatment and help you return to your regular activities.  Current breast cancer treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and endocrine therapies.  Some treatments may lead to physical or functional impairments which can be amenable with rehabilitation.  In the past, many of these impairments, which may include pain, fatigue, lymphedema, weakness, loss of mobility, or numbness and tingling, have gone untreated. 

Here, at The Jackson Clinics, we utilize the most up to date standard of care called the Prospective Surveillance Model to assist in prevention, and to help minimize the effects of cancer treatment.

The Prospective Surveillance Model, or PSM, is a proactive approach to periodically examining patients and providing continued assessment during and after disease treatment, often in the absence of impairment.  This model allows for early detection and intervention of physical impairments known to be associated with cancer treatment.  Research has shown that the PSM reduces post-operative complications related to breast cancer treatment and lowers the overall cost of treatment by being proactive in early detection of physical complications.

The PSM is divided into 3 phases.  The first phase includes a preoperative evaluation.  This evaluation consists of a thorough assessment of current level of function, exercise habits and allows the clinician to establish a baseline from which to follow the patient and detect change over time.  This visit also provides education regarding the postoperative plan of care, including postoperative exercises, and advice for returning to activities during and after treatment.  Further, the preoperative visit allows for discussion regarding known risk factors and adverse effects of cancer treatment.

The second phase of PSM includes a postoperative evaluation.  This visit repeats baseline tests and measures and further reinforces education regarding exercise, and return to activity. An individualized exercise program is prescribed for independent exercise throughout the course of cancer treatment, aimed at improving function and preventing impairments related to treatment.

The third and final phase consists of ongoing surveillance.  Baseline tests and measures are repeated at each follow- up visit in an effort to identify changes and to detect early signs of physical impairment. If impairments are detected, rehabilitation may be initiated.  This proactive approach promotes early intervention to optimize recovery and return to pre-operative level of function. 

Video Presentation


At The Jackson Clinics, we strive to assist you in reaching your optimal level of function and achieving your goals of health and wellness.  We believe taking a proactive approach via the Prospective Surveillance Model is the best way to reach these goals together. 

Learn more about Cancer Survivor Rehab.

Schedule your appointment today with one of our Certified Lymphedema Therapists!

Erica Marchessault, PT, DPT CLT
Herndon Office
150 Elden Street, Ste 242
Herndon, VA 20170
njohnson_thumb Nicole Quaglia, PT, DPT, OCS, CLT-UE
Skyline Office
5115 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041
Jennifer Burda, PT, DPT, CLT
Manassas Office
8140 Ashton Ave, Ste 104
Manassas, VA 20109

Leah Willis, PT, DPT, CLT-UE
Shirlington Office
2800 Shirlington Road, Ste 510
Arlington, VA 22206


Katherine Henderson, PT, DPT, CLT-UE
Ashburn/Broadlands Office
43490 Yukon Dr., Ste 212
Ashburn, VA 20147



I started working with Erin and Krista about 9 weeks after bilateral mastectomy and 6 weeks after left axillary lymph node dissection. I could only lift my left arm to shoulder height; my right arm had greater range of motion but was not 100%. I had a knot of scar tissue in my left arm pit and cording along the entire arm. I had been doing the recommended after surgery exercises but was still weak, a little despondent and honestly still a little angry about my breast cancer diagnosis. During our initial meeting Erin recorded baseline range of motion measurements, we set practical and realistic goals for my recovery and we got to work. Krista guided me through the initial exercises to assess my limitations. A few of my goals included reaching the top shelves in the kitchen cabinets and bedroom closets without pain, getting a shirt over my head without pain, gardening and of course resuming daily push-ups. Between Erin’s hands on massaging and tissue manipulation and Krista’s varied exercises I felt improvement in the first 2 or 3 sessions. Erin applied kinesio tape to lessen the rigidity of my surgical scars (she says there’s no science behind it but it sure helped me!). Erin and Krista were always patient and encouraging and pushing me to achieve more as I got stronger. When the chemo got the better of me they took it easy until I was up to it. After 4 months of therapy, I have full range of motion in both arms and have resumed all physical activities, I even do push-ups regularly. I credit Erin and Krista with helping me regain my physical confidence on my journey to being a breast cancer survivor; I definitely count them among my blessings! They helped me “Fight Like a Girl”!

— Judy (Colonel, USAF retired)

Committing to the physical therapy program helped me feel confident in my strength before and after two surgeries, overcome side effects of hemotherapy, and devote time to my body in a positive and proactive way… My physical therapist didn’t flinch at the thought of me – pregnant at the time of diagnosis – returning to rock climbing and running. Five months later, I did:… I’ve since recommended Jackson Clinic’s program to others, and I would continue to do so.

— Jamie, Northern Virginia