Special Interest Group

Lymphatic Diseases

Lymphedema is a common side effect of cancer treatment impacting many survivors. The Lymphatic Diseases SIG serves to help disseminate information for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants working with patients with lymphedema, through related literature, updates on lymphedema legislation and shared information between therapists experienced in treating the condition. Our common purpose is to enhance the quality of life of patients with lymphedema that we treat.

The Mission of the Lymphatic Diseases SIG

The mission of Lymphatic Diseases SIG is to provide a forum to connect therapists who have a common interest in swelling disorders to network, stay up to date and share information to enhance and benefit the patients we serve.

Lesli Bell
Lesli Bell


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SIG Member Resources

Lymphedema Event Calendar

APTA Oncology and the Lymphatic Diseases SIG hope to provide members with opportunities to advance skills, develop professional networks, and promote awareness of lymphedema and oncology rehab. Visit our Education page to check out our calendar of upcoming opportunities.

Lymphedema Research Collection

APTA Oncology’s official journal, Rehabilitation Oncology, has organized all articles related to lymphatic diseases into one convenient collection! Visit the collection to review state of the art literature in our field today. Please note, to access content as a member of APTA Oncology, please sign and access the journal via our ‘For Members‘ page, not under Publications.

The perspective of this article varies from what many of us learned in the past regarding Starlings Principle of fluid exchange. This article reviews that all edema is lymphatic overload. Medicine primarily looks at systemic reasons for edema. Consideration that systemic and peripheral edema impairments can happen simultaneously should change how medicine approaches treatment of patients with edema and lymphedema. This understanding could create a more collaborative atmosphere between physicians and physical therapists specializing in lymphedema management, thus allowing for more comprehensive treatment of our patients.

Peter S. Mortimer and Stanley G. Rockson. New developments in clinical aspects of lymphatic disease
. J Clin Invest. 2014 Mar 3; 124(3): 915–921. doi: 10.1172/JCI71608
PMCID: PMC3938261 


“Arguably, it may be better to consider the presence of chronic edema as synonymous with the presence of lymphedema, inasmuch as all edema represents relative lymph drainage failure” 



The lymphatic system is fundamentally important to cardiovascular disease, infection and immunity, cancer, and probably obesity — the four major challenges in healthcare in the 21st century. This Review will consider the manner in which new knowledge of lymphatic genes and molecular mechanisms has demonstrated that lymphatic dysfunction should no longer be considered a passive bystander in disease but rather an active player in many pathological processes and, therefore, a genuine target for future therapeutic developments. The specific roles of the lymphatic system in edema, genetic aspects of primary lymphedema, infection (cellulitis/erysipelas), Crohn’s disease, obesity, cancer, and cancer-related lymphedema are highlighted.

Interested in joining an APTA Oncology Special Interest Group (SIG)?

Clinical Research Grants

Are you up on the latest Oncology Physical Therapy research or are you just starting out? New and experienced APTA Oncology members can make valuable contributions.

Clinical Internship Opportunities

This list of clinical sites is provided as a service to APTA Oncology Members.

Host a Regional Course in Your Area

APTA Oncology has several course offerings looking for partners to host. The host facility will be chosen based on the guarantee that they can draw a minimum of 15 registrants.

Member Awards

Know of a member who deserves recognition? Nominate them for an APTA Oncology Member Award! Deadline: October 1

Join the APTA Oncology ListServ

APTA Oncology's General Listerv is a very productive messaging system for answering your practice questions. In addition, we maintain specialized listservs for our special interest groups.

Resource Guide for Specialization

This document, prepared by APTA Oncology, is designed to help you in your preparation for the Oncology Specialist Certification Examination.


OncoReadsSM allows you to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from the comfort of your own home or office. Begin earning today!

Partners Program

Any PT or PTA living in a country other than the US or a healthcare provider from another discipline, not eligible for APTA membership, can take advantage of our membership benefits by becoming a Partner of APTA Oncology.

Look Inside the Oncology Toolbox

What's in your Physical Therapy Bag of Tricks? Find more and contribute some.

Sign Up to Become a Volunteer

This Academy survives and thrives on it's exceptional line of volunteers. From experienced to clincians; if you want to be a leader, we have a position.