October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and rightly so since millions of women and their families are affected by cancer. A staggering 1 in 8 women will develop this often-life-threatening condition at some point in their lives.
The good news is that we are seeing survival rates steadily improve, as well as learning more and more about disease prevention. Physical therapy can play an important role in both, as well as greatly improving quality of life following treatment.
Less than 50% of all breast cancer survivors exercise regularly, but exercising can be the most beneficial weapon in recovery. Exercise has been shown to halve the risk of breast cancer recurrence, and women who exercise are 50% more likely to survive breast cancer than those who don’t work out. The benefits of exercise include decreased inflammation, reduced stress, decreased pain, and promotion of healthy weight. Many women are unsure how to initiate a safe and effective exercise program, especially following cancer treatment. A Physical Therapist specialized in breast health will guide you through the process, and help establish a realistic program to suit your needs.
Arm function is essential to performing most daily activities. Breast cancer treatment often leads to scar tissue formation, shoulder stiffness, nerve adhesions, swelling and weakness in the upper body, making arm raising painful and stiff. Gentle manual therapy performed by a qualified Physical Therapist, along with a slowly progressive strength and flexibility program can help to restore normal motion and function. The earlier in the treatment process that Physical Therapy is initiated, the better the outcome.
At HOPE Physical Therapy and Wellness, we offer comprehensive therapy including Women’s Health Services. Are you a survivor? Give us a call today and let us help you improve your quality of life!