Lymphedema Therapy is Available at Provision


Kathy Kearse, PT, CLT-LANA, of Provision Physical Therapy, performs lymphedema therapy on breast cancer patients.  These patients are benefitting from the nurturing and therapeutic treatments offered by Kearse.  As part of the comprehensive services offered at the Provision campus at Dowell Springs, this beneficial therapy for cancer patients is available right here in Knoxville at Provision Physical Therapy.  The article below appeared in the Shopper News.

Sometimes, the effects of breast cancer don’t end with surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. The cancer itself, and the treatments used to fight it, can leave women with other health concerns.

That’s where Kathy Kearse of Provision Physical Therapy comes in. Kearse is a licensed physical therapist with a specialty certification in the treatment of lymphedema, a condition that can arise when lymph nodes are damaged or removed to treat breast cancer.

“Kathy Kearse was one of the first people to bring this method of treatment to town,” said Dr. George Webber, surgeon with Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center. “It is a huge step forward in how we treat lymphedema.”

The lymph system takes fluids and waste products away from the body’s cells, pumping them to locations where they can be eliminated from the system. When the system isn’t functioning properly, the patient can experience a buildup of fluids, ranging from mild swelling and heaviness to full-fledged fibrosis, in which the build-up is thick like putty.

Kearse is careful to keep treatment for lymphedema gentle, private and personal, empowering women by teaching them exercises and self-care regimens to keep lymphedema at bay.

“These women have already gone through a lot. Their bodies have gone through a lot,” said Kearse. “I try to treat them in a nurturing, caring way.”

Treatment for lymphedema is four-fold. Gentle massage techniques are used to guide fluid build-up towards functioning lymph nodes in other areas of the body. Exercises use the body’s natural muscle action to pump fluids out of areas affected by lymphedema. Compression uses a firm sleeve or glove to keep fluids from building up. And finally, women are taught skin care and risk reduction practices to help minimize lymphedema.

“I like to say knowledge is power,” said Kearse. “If you know how to take care of yourself, you are empowered to do that.”

Kearse said that modern medical treatments have lessened instances of lymphedema in breast cancer patients. She added that early intervention is crucial to treating the condition.

“The goal of the lymphedema community is to have earlier intervention for women with higher risk,” she said. “I love my job. To have the opportunity to work with these women and see them overcome so many obstacles, it’s just amazing. These women are absolutely beautiful, and I feel honored to work with them.”

For more information or to make an appointment with Kathy Kearse, please call (865) 232-1415 or e-mail