MGH Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema Program

Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema occurs in about 20% of patients treated for breast cancer (Disipio et al) ...

Our Goals

Our research goals are to improve and disseminate breast cancer-related lymphedema screening, education and treatment for patients at risk after breast cancer treatment.

 Patients who participate in our research are also given access to lymphedema screening, education, and treatment.


What We Study

Lymphedema is caused by surgery or radiation to the lymph nodes as part of breast cancer treatment. This can injure the lymphatic system and cause swelling that collects in tissue under the skin. This fluid is called “lymph.” Swelling may occur in the breast, trunk, or arm on the side of breast cancer treatment.

All MGH patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer are eligible to be screened free of charge.


Our team started screening patients for breast cancer-related lymphedema in 2005 and has screened over 6,000 patients…

Resources for further information and intervention regarding lymphedema,
including therapists, management providers, lymphedema fitters, blogs, and more:

Meet Our Team


Alphonse Taghian, MD, PhD

Director of the Lymphedema Research Program
Massachusetts General Hospital

Professor of Radiation Oncology,
Harvard Medical School


Cheryl Brunelle

Cheryl Brunelle, PT, MS, CCS, CLT

Associate Director of the Lymphedema Research Program
Massachusetts General Hospital

Physical Therapy Clinical Specialist,
Department of Physical and Occupational Therapy


If you are a patient at MGH and have specific care-related questions, please contact your providers through Patient Gateway


Rachel Rodrigues

Clinical Research Coordinator


Jenny Lin

Clinical Research Coordinator

For over 15 years our research has assessed risks of lymphedema, whether specific factors predispose patients to swelling, and ways in which to detect and minimize lymphedema early on so that treatment may be most successful. With over 6,000 patients, our screening program is well equipped to conduct research on all aspects of breast cancer-related lymphedema.

We are mostly philanthropically funded and greatly appreciate donations which allow us to continue screening patients and conducting lymphedema related research to enhance screening and care of patients at risk for breast cancer-related lymphedema


Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, 55 Fruit Street, Yawkey 9A