What is the role of physical therapy in breast cancer management

What is the role of physical therapy in breast cancer management

June 14, 2023

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide. Treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these. Physical therapy can play a vital role in breast cancer management by improving treatment outcomes and aiding recovery. Physical therapy aims to maximize patient function, minimize complications, and improve quality of life throughout the cancer journey.

The Importance of Physical Therapy in Breast Cancer Management

Physical therapy can be an essential component of breast cancer management. This type of therapy is designed to address the functional impairments that can result from cancer treatments. Physical therapy can help manage the side effects of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, such as limited range of motion, pain, lymphedema, fatigue, and weakness. Additionally, physical therapy can help prepare patients for surgery and improve their post-surgical recovery.

Physical therapy can also help address psychosocial aspects of breast cancer management, such as anxiety, depression, and body image concerns. Breast cancer can have a significant impact on a patient’s emotional well-being, and physical therapists can provide support and guidance to help patients cope with these challenges.

How Physical Therapy Can Improve Breast Cancer Treatment and Recovery

Physical therapy can improve breast cancer treatment and recovery by addressing specific functional impairments. For example, physical therapy can help prevent or manage lymphedema, a common side effect of breast cancer treatment that causes swelling in the arms or legs. Physical therapy interventions for lymphedema include manual lymphatic drainage, compression bandaging, and exercise therapy.

Physical therapy can also help improve range of motion and function after breast cancer surgery. Physical therapists can provide exercises and education to help patients regain strength and mobility in the affected area. Additionally, physical therapy can help manage pain and scar tissue formation.

Finally, physical therapy can help improve overall quality of life for breast cancer patients. Physical therapists can provide guidance on exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle modifications to promote overall health and well-being. By addressing physical and psychosocial challenges, physical therapy can help breast cancer patients maintain their independence and improve their overall functioning.

In conclusion, physical therapy is an important part of breast cancer management. By addressing functional impairments, managing side effects, and promoting overall well-being, physical therapy can improve treatment outcomes and aid in recovery. Patients with breast cancer should consider working with a physical therapist to optimize their care and improve their quality of life.