The importance of physical therapy after breast cancer surgery
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in addition to Physical Therapy Month. Physical therapists play an important role in treating women who have experienced breast cancer-related surgery.
Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer may mean a breast biopsy, lymph node biopsy or removal, lumpectomy, mastectomy, breast reconstruction or radiation therapy. Any of these treatments can affect shoulder and arm movement – making it difficult to perform daily activities like bathing, dressing or even combing hair.
No matter the type of breast surgery, it’s important to exercise during recovery. However, it is also very important to talk to a doctor before starting any exercise program. He or she may decide it’s necessary to refer you to a physical therapist for an evaluation and customized exercise program.
The therapist will perform passive range of motion, slow gentle stretches and massage if needed. As time progresses patients are trained in isometric, or resistance, exercises and active range of motion exercises, with or without the use of equipment. The therapist can also provide education on proper deep breathing and relaxation techniques, and can suggest the adaptive equipment that will best help with daily activities.
Women and men across America are more aware than ever before about breast cancer, its symptoms and effects, and treatment methods and choices. Walking events, support groups, websites, television specials and pink ribbons bring awareness to the masses, along with educating on the increase in treatment options. As a result, people are living longer and focusing on preventative measures.
At Scerbo Physical Therapy and Sport Rehabilitation our physical therapists will evaluate your medical history and will develop a treatment plan that best serves your individual goals.
Scerbo Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation, 725 River Road, Suite 60 (Marketplace), Edgewater, New Jersey 07020.