Breast Cancer Awareness & Rehabilitation
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month! It cannot be stressed enough to check yourself with a self breast exam. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetimes. Based on the severity of the cancer, women could possibly undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
These treatments can also greatly affect your tissues such as fascia and muscles. Scar tissue can develop from incisions and inflammation associated with a lumpectomy, mastectomy, reconstruction, or a biopsy. Hence scar tissue can create pain, weakness, and limit mobility.
Based on what procedure you underwent in order to manage or eradicate your breast cancer diagnosis, a physical therapist can assist you in developing a treatment plan specific to your needs. They can educate and guide you on exercises before and after surgery. Besides exercises, manual therapy is very beneficial to break up scar tissue in order to gain back your motion as soon as possible. There are also some side effects that can occur associated with your treatment plan such as lymphedema or pelvic floor dysfunction. Any physical therapist can identify these symptoms and find you a specialist to assist in healing faster. With expert guidance, exercises such as Pilates can also be a very useful tool in the recovery process, as outlined in this post from Brittany Crosby of The Co Pilates: http://www.thecopilates.com/blog/2018/10/23/in-october-we-wear-pink-breast-cancer-awareness-month
It can’t be stressed enough to advocate for yourself and ask your doctor to go to physical therapy after your surgery. Your doctor may have some precautions for your physical therapist depending on what procedure you had. Nonetheless, like any surgery, your body needs to heal and be restored properly.