Breast Cancer Oncology Rehabilitation
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Oncology Rehabilitation for Breast Cancer
Breast cancer and its treatment can affect your physical functioning and energy. For instance, many breast cancer treatments decrease estrogen in the body, which can, in turn, decrease bone density.
Exercise is important to promote bone density and help prevent breast cancer recurrence. Exercise can also decrease treatment-related fatigue, especially during breast cancer radiation.
The oncology rehabilitation team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA)—including licensed physical, occupational and speech therapists—will help you overcome physical deficits, build strength, reduce pain and decrease fatigue.
Breast Cancer Oncology Rehabilitation Therapies
Upon your arrival at CTCA and prior to your breast cancer treatment, you will meet with a rehabilitation therapist for a thorough physical assessment and evaluation.
Then, you and your rehabilitation therapist will work together to develop a rehabilitation plan that is tailored to your needs. Since you meet with them prior to treatment, your rehabilitation therapist can anticipate and help prevent deficits before they arise.
The following are some of the breast cancer oncology rehabilitation therapies available to you during treatment:
- Lymphedema Management: Many breast cancer patients develop lymphedema after surgery, a condition in which excess fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling. Your oncology rehabilitation therapist will team up with your surgical oncologist to help you prevent or minimize lymphedema using specialized drainage techniques, stretching exercises and massages.
- Scar Tissue Therapy: We can perform scar and myofascial work after surgery to decrease pain and discomfort.
- Physical and Occupational Therapy: Your breast cancer oncology rehabilitation therapist may suggest therapeutic exercises and neuromuscular training, as well as cardiovascular, flexibility and strength training. These therapies can help build strength and energy so you can continue to participate in activities that are important to you.
- Auriculotherapy: Some breast cancer treatments cause side effects such as nausea, pain and fatigue. This painless, non-invasive technique, which involves an electrical stimulation of the auricle of the external ear, can help alleviate some of these side effects.
- ReBuilder: Chemotherapy for breast cancer may cause peripheral neuropathy (numbness, pain and tingling in certain areas of the body). This technique involves an electronic stimulation to the area of neuropathy, such as the hands or feet, to increase tactile sensory and awareness.
Throughout your breast cancer treatment, your rehabilitation therapist will consult regularly with the other members of your CTCA care team to help improve your physical functioning and sense of well-being.
Our rehabilitation team also provides an educational component to help you understand the physical and psychological benefits of physical restoration, and to help prepare you and your family for continuing the program at home.
Next Topic: Mind-Body Medicine for Breast Cancer