Although one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, there is currently no standard program designed for effective rehabilitation — even though there are enormous benefits from addressing the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of treatment and recovery.
This fact has led me to develop and implement a comprehensive rehabilitation program that combines several therapies that are powerful when used together:
- Pilates: Focusing on expanding range of motion and building core strength, this movement therapy can address muscle imbalances and limitations that may result during breast cancer treatment.
- Pink Ribbon Program: I am a breast cancer exercise specialist, certified under this rigorous rehabilitative program aimed at getting clients back into mainstream forms of exercise and the overall swing of life.
- Physical therapy: This advanced course for physical therapists and other medical professionals, Physical Therapy Treatment for the Breast Oncology Patient, addresses additional strategies for rehabilitating those affected by breast cancer. This brings an important clinical perspective to my approach.
- Prospective Surveillance Model: This advanced training focuses on helping to prevent and detect potential side effects of breast cancer medical intervention early in the episode of care. This training enables me to use observational techniques to help alleviate side effects and to refer clients to a physical therapist, oncologist, reconstructive surgeon or other medical professional when necessary.
Using these therapies I create a one-on-one tailored program that addresses the specific needs of each client from diagnosis through treatment and into recovery. These approaches can yield significant benefits, including:
- Better physical function prior to and just after diagnosis, which can improve outcomes and shorten recovery timeframes.
- Improved recovery from surgery, whether that means a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or reconstructive surgery. Sessions can make rehabilitation easier in areas such as shoulders, neck, and arms.
- More mobility, so clients can accomplish everyday tasks that would otherwise be painful as they recover.
- Emotional and psychological benefits, including enhanced body image, more confidence, increased optimism, and a stronger sense of well-being.
Breast cancer clients — ranging from just diagnosed to those in remission for decades — have incredibly complex needs, and each is unique in how he or she experiences side effects from treatment, surgical recovery, and medication interactions.
By applying multiple therapeutic approaches that blend clinical insights, condition-specific rehabilitation and proven exercise strategies, I can offer breast cancer patients a program that meets their specific needs.