"You can access the knowledge and skills from several experts in their chosen fields"
Robert White - Consultant Physiotherapist
Breast Cancer Rehabilitation
Breast Cancer Rehabilitation - a new approach
Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women in the western world and of rising concern in developing countries.
Medical treatments for breast cancer may include;
- Hormone replacement therapy and
Depending on the histology and the extent of the disease, combinations of surgery and adjuvant therapy may be used. Although effective in treatment of cancer, the above interventions are often associated with side effects which may affect a patient’s function and quality of life.
Advances in medicine and technology, combined with improved therapy and earlier detection have thankfully led to an increased survival rate. However, with more women now living with their disease, issues of survivorship, both physical and psychosocial, are of increasing importance. Quality of life strongly depends on physical function.
What happens AFTER treatment?
Breast cancer treatment is often followed by a decline in upper body function. In up to 50 per cent of patients, symptoms after surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy include;
- Impaired shoulder movement
- Muscle weakness
- Arm pain and
- Cording (fibrous scar tissue developing in the arm after lymph nodes have been removed)
Other side effects of treatment include;
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lowered self-esteem
- Anxiety and depression
- Weight gain - often associated with chemotherapy
New Advances in Rehabilitation
A specific rehabilitation programme aimed at addressing the above issues has now been developed and is available here, at Body 2 Fit!
Body 2 Fit's co-Director, Joy Feary, who has a specific interest in shoulder rehabilitation, underwent specialist training with Mr. Willie Fourie, a physiotherapist in private practice in Johannesburg, South Africa, who has an interest in managing patients with breast cancer.
Willie believes that much of the pain and dysfunction associated with breast cancer therapies is a consequence of restrictions in connective tissue. As a result, his approach is to focus on mobilising restrictions in the connective tissue by using gentle non-invasive massage and mobilisation techniques often producing dramatic results. Client's will often regain function in their upper bodies, sometimes after months or even years of impaired movement. Joy has embraced this approach and now offers such treatment on an individual basis.
Furthermore, recent studies show a link between moderate physical exercise and improved quality of life for breast cancer survivors. Joy wanted to enhance her manual therapy intervention by introducing an exercise programme designed specifically for breast cancer survivors. She therefore undertook further Pilates training and is now a certified instructor for the internationally recognised Pink Ribbon Programme.
The Pink Ribbon Programme consists of a series of modified Pilates exercises designed to help breast cancer survivors improve the range of motion in their arms, shoulders and other affected areas following surgery. The programme was designed by Doreen Puglisi, an American exercise physiologist, who herself is a breast cancer survivor.
The Pink Ribbon programme is divided into three phases:
- The initial phase focuses on increasing range of movement
- Phase two sees range of movement exercises continue and stability based exercises introduced
- Phase three introduces strength based exercises for a full body workout.
The programme is offered to clients on a private 1-2-1 basis or in a small group setting.
Prior to commencing the programme, the client is invited to attend for an individual assessment where a full history is taken.
Beyond the physical rehabilitation that the programme offers participants, it also instils confidence and inspires hope. The results witnessed are truly astounding!
For more information on our specialist Breast Cancer rehabilitation sessions please contact Joy Feary at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01642) 680 680