October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it seems fitting to discuss the role of physical therapy in breast cancer rehabilitation. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is diagnosed in approximately 1 in 8 women. And although rare (less than 1% of cases in the US), males can also be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Relevant to physical therapy, the effects of breast cancer treatment can include pain in the shoulders, chest, back, neck, or arm. It can also cause restricted range of motion or stiffness of the shoulder, neck, and spine. These issues can be easily addressed with physical therapy treatment in the forms of manual therapy, postural training, stretching, and exercise.
By including physical therapy in breast cancer treatment and rehabilitation, these plans can be incorporated to reduce the effects of pain or stiffness in joints.