October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Early detection is key.
Performing monthly breast examinations are highly recommended. Encourage your loved ones to have yearly mammograms. If in doubt, seek out medical attention! I learned from my sister who had Breast cancer at age 31. Don’t wait!
Can I perform exercise or physical activity after Breast Cancer?
The answer is a resounding “Yes”. Cancer risk factors decrease with each acute bout of exercise. The accumulation of 150 minutes of moderate exercise and/or physical activity each week is recommended. Structured exercise can also prevent other diseases such as diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases. Physical activity also helps with improved mood and well-being. In short, any and all activity counts for your lifelong health and wellness.
What kinds of exercise can I safely perform during medical therapy sessions?
For people who have cancer and are in the midst of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, exercise can prevent tissues and muscles from becoming stiff and weak after a lumpectomy or radical mastectomy movement is essential.
Gradually increase your activity. Listen to your body. Breathe. What’s important is to maintain your strength, endurance and flexibility plus quality of life.
Strength: Strength training can keep your muscles in good shape to do your daily work, chores, and feeling good about your body.
Endurance: Aerobic activities, such as walking or cycling, can help keep your other joints moving freely so you have more energy for your favorite hobbies or for playing with your children or grandchildren.
Flexibility: Yoga can help with flexibility, balance, and strength so that you can put on your bra, tie your shoes and go to the grocery store or shopping. Yoga can also help with pain and stress management to get through your days and nights with better sleep hygiene.
What about lymphedema after surgery?
If you have had breast cancer and surgery, some complications that may occur include lymphedema, loss of arm mobility, strength and function, depending on the extent of your surgery and stage. Early detection is important at stage 0, 1, 2 and before local spread stage 3, or metastases at stage 4.
Gentle active movement or physical activity helps reduce lymphedema (swelling of the involved arm), reduces stiffening of tissues including muscle and facia from the underlying bones and joints. You may need to seek and expert in lymphedema management.
What is Cancer-Related Fatigue?
Short bouts of exercise and a walking program integrated into your daily routine (at times when you are less fatigued) can improve conditioning. In combination, nutrition, sleep hygiene and physical activity form the triad of recovery from breast cancer.
How can I minimize Pain?
Movement can reduce pain when performed in therapeutic amounts. Soft tissue mobility and strengthening in combination with gentle stretches may be helpful to reduce your pain.
Are individual or group sessions best for me?
After a diagnosis of breast cancer, exercise sessions under the supervision of an expert physical therapist is vital for your successful return to full functioning and quality of life. Having someone to support you can be fun!
Quality of life is the ultimate goal as you return to typical activities to get your life back after breast cancer. After my sister went through breast cancer at age 31, she came back with so much energy and passion for life. She is an inspiration to me and so many others.
Contact Dr. Ann H. Newstead, PT, DPT, PhD for more information or a complementary 30-minute Discovery Consultation Visit. A Healthy Life for All Ages!