Physical Therapy For Breast Cancer Recovery

Physical Therapy For Breast Cancer Recovery

December 17, 2020

Let’s face it when women hear about breast cancer, we quiver a little. That’s because even with all the advanced medical treatments and all, it will all go down on how our body reacts and fight cancer. But being human means being hopeful for the better. Medical science has pushed itself and came up with better and effective treatments.

And now, according to statistics, in 2020, an estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S. as well as 48,530 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. 64% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage, for which the 5-year survival is 99%. One in eight women and one in one thousand men will be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of a lifetime.1 Survivorship is on the rise thanks to early detection and improvements in the treatment of breast cancer.

Surgery such as biopsy, lumpectomy, mastectomy, reconstruction, is one of the most common treatments that women have to undergo. Right after, rehabilitation comes next- and with it is Physical Therapy. So, the question is how can Physical Therapy help?

Physical therapy during Prehabilitation

This is defined as the time before surgery and the actual treatment. Yes, Physical therapy already plays a role right before surgery. How? It can actually help with the patient’s psychological and physical result of the treatment.

The role of physical therapy during this phase is the following:>

  • to assess the patient.
  • Evaluate and identify possible impairments that may affect the recovery of the patient such as muscle weakness and pain.
    the patient especially on lymphedema and how to reduce the risk of getting it.
  • To establish an exercise program that the patient will be fully aware of that would be done before and after the surgery.

Physical Therapy post-surgery

After the operation, the goal of your physical therapist is to reduce the side effects of the treatment that you have had. A patient may find it difficult and painful to lift her arm above her head or behind her back. Physical therapy exercises are designed to restore these movements and reduce pain.

This is where your PT applies the exercise plan, and this will include:

  • Treatment of Lymphedema – the most common is manual lymphatic drainage, compression bandaging, and self-care
  • Postural drainage – the focus here is to address the changes in the posture and to be able to perform postural exercises and ergonomics.

Your physical therapist will help you in exercising all throughout the phases during your cancer treatment (before, during, and after surgery). It is so important since it helps in eliminating the side effects of the treatment.

Physical therapists also encourage their patients who had post-breast surgery to talk to their doctor first. Don’t start an exercise plan or physical therapy without consulting your doctor. Breathe- breathing helps ease pain and reduce stress. Never exercise cold muscles, always warm those muscles. Start slowly, and gradually increase your movement. Consider performing arm movements during or just after a warm shower. Always drink plenty of water when you exercise. Hydration is very important. . And one of the most commonly feared things that post-surgery patients do is to take a walk. Post-surgery fitness is not just about moving the affected area. Taking a brisk walk every day is good for the heart and increases blood flow, which promotes healing. These are basic tips but so important for your full recovery.

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