My stepmother received treatment for breast cancer, several years ago, and I will never forget the experience. I remember the nausea and sickness that took her away from her normally high spirited self. I remember how difficult it was for her to lift her arms after undergoing her mastectomy. For the first few days she needed assistance with small tasks like taking on/off shirts in order to dress. It was a slow recovery, but taught me so much. A breast cancer diagnosis can take such a toll on a family, even when the treatment is complete
Physical Therapy after breast cancer treatment looks different for every person.
Whether you’ve had a lumpectomy, mastectomy, chest wall radiation, or lymph node resection, regaining shoulder movement may be difficult.
Those who have had surgical procedures and/or radiation to treat breast cancer are more likely to experience shoulder impingement syndrome, difficulty with arm strength, and pain in the neck, back and shoulders.
A good physical therapy evaluation after breast cancer interventions will entail:
- your therapist being knowledgeable about the procedures you underwent
- an examination of your shoulder, neck and upper back mobility
- an assessment of your core strength
- an assessment of any scar tissue
- screening and interventions to address or prevent lymphedema
- determination of possible causes of pain