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Breast Cancer and Physiotherapy

Breast Cancer and Physiotherapy

In recognition of breast Cancer Awareness Month I wanted to create a blog series of how physiotherapy works in this area. Each week I will publish a new post focusing on a different aspects e.g. axillary web syndrome, exercise etc. First up in this series I wanted to talk about the value that physiotherapists can contribute with in the treatment pathway as well as some general statistics about breast cancer. 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month.png

Breast Cancer Statistics 

  • 1 in 7 women will. be diagnosed with breast cancer.

  • Around 55,200 cases of breast cancer is diagnosed per year in the UK, that's 150 per day.

  • It's the most common cancer type in the UK accountingg for 15% of all new cancer cases.

  • Breast cancer is predominantly seen among women, but 250 males were diagnoses in 2016.

  • Survival rates for breast cancer is good with 9/10 women survive 5 years or more and 8/10 survive 10 years or more in the UK.

  • Up to 23% of cases are preventable and caused by lifestyle factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity).

Statistics are taken from Cancer Research UK's website (link below in reference section). 

Breast Cancer and Physiotherapy 

The National Cancer Survivorship Initiative (NCSI) is an initiative between the NHS, Macmillan and The Department of Health. Here the value that physiotherapists bring to the 'recovery package' is recognised. Physiotherapists play an excellent role in getting people more mobile, improve overall function and ability to complete daily activities. This does not only take place after treatment. In actual fact physiotherapists are excellently placed throughout the whole process. Physiotherapists can help to improve fitness for chemotherapy, improve shoulder range for radiotherapy and help with scar tissue and cording following surgery. I will go more in depth into these topics in the coming posts across October. 

A study which looked into the perception of breast cancer patients receiving physiotherapy, found that there was a lot of positive response to physiotherapy. Participants listed how the physiotherapy service was helpful from an emotional, psychosocial and physical point of view. The need for early intervention, easy access and flexibility is highlighted. Considering the vast amounts of appointments this patient group will attend, it is important for physiotherapy to fit in around this. Furthermore, for physiotherapists to also work closely with the wider team,. This will help the patient to feel safe and have a seamless service in what is a very stressful and uncertain time (Pidlyskyj et al 2014). 

If you enjoyed this article, please make sure to subscribe. That way you will get notified directly on a new post. The topic of Axillary Web Syndrome (cording) will. be coming up next week. 




What is Cording After Breast Cancer?

What is Cording After Breast Cancer?

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