Breast Cancer Related Dysfunction

Breast Cancer Related Dysfunction

Our goal here at Core Essentials Physical Therapy & Wellness is to spread the word that pain, limited motion, and difficulty with returning to an active lifestyle are all things we are able to address here in the clinic.

Common issues that arise after Breast Cancer Related Intervention:


Do you that approximately one-third of individuals diagnosed with Breast Cancer will develop lymphedema? Did you know that early detection of lymphedema not only helps prevent the condition from progressing through stages, but it also saves you and your insurance company a serious amount of money?  It costs on average five times more per year to treat an individual with late-stage lymphedema as compared to an early stage lymphedema.

Now, let’s take some time to learn about this condition and how to do self- monitoring and screen for onset.

  1. Silver JK, Newman R. Galatino ML, Schockney LO.  Cancer Rehabilitation may

improve function in survivors and decrease the ecomonic burden of cancer to

individuals and society. Work. 2013. 46 (4) 455-72.

  1. Silver JK. Cancer Prehabilitation and its role in improving health outcomes and reducing health care costs. Sermin Oncol Nurs. 2015. Feb 31(`):13-30.
  2. Stout et al. Preoperative assessment enables the early diagnosis and successful treatment of lymphedema. Cancer, 2008 Jul 15; 112(12):2809-19.

Axillary cording

Did you know that a stressed lymph vessel or group of vessels could actually cause pain and limited shoulder motion?  Well, that is a real possibility at any point along the journey of cancer-related treatment. However, the good news is that when axillary cording is diagnosed early and treated quickly the symptoms are usually completely resolved.  The longer it persists, the more difficult it is to treat.  This is why early detection and intervention are so important.  If you would like to learn more about axillary cording click on the link to watch my video further explaining this condition and the treatment options that exist.

  1. Foldi, E., & Foldi, M. (2006). Foldi’s Textbook of Lymphology for Physicians and Physical Therapists. German: Uban & Fisher.

Shoulder pain

Did you know that 43% of individuals followed 5 years past their breast cancer treatment continued to present with shoulder limitation if they did not participate in early intervention?  This is compared to 9% if they did participate in early intervention.  Why is it so common to continue with a restricted range of motion, pain, and difficulty returning to activities previously enjoyed?  Click on the link below to learn more about why this happens and what can be done to address it.

  1. Galantino M, Stout N. Exercise Interventions for Upper Limb Dysfunction Due to Breast Cancer Treatment. Phys Ther (2013) 93 (10): 1291-1297
  1. Pergolotti M et al. The prevalence of potentially modifiable functional deficits and the subsequent use of occupational and physical therapy by older adults with cancer. J Geriatric Onc 2015.
  1. Stout et al. Preoperative assessment enables the early diagnosis and successful treatment of lymphedema. Cancer, 2008 Jul 15; 112(12):2809-19.

Myofascial Pain

Did you know that nearly half of women develop myofascial pain syndrome within the first year of Breast Cancer Surgery?  Therefore this is a very common source of pain that individuals experience after surgery.  What is myofascial pain syndrome? Is it treatable in Physical Therapy? Well, watch the video below to find out more.

  1. Lacomba M, del Moral, O, Zazo J, Gerwin R, Goni A.  The Incidence of Myofascial Pain Syndrome In Breast Cancer Surgery: A prospective Study. The Clinical Journal of Pain. 26(4):320-325, MAY 2010
  2. Silver JK. Cancer Rehabilitation and prehabilation may reduce disability and early retirement. Cancer. 2014 jul 15; 120(14) 2072-6.

Big Picture:

The number one message we hope to get across is that it is NOT NORMAL to experience pain or limitation of movement after Breast Cancer treatment. An experienced clinician can help!  

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