Physical activity is of benefit for cancer patients in general including reduced fatigue, nausea, body fat, anxiety and depression and increased muscle strength, lean body mass, aerobic capacity, enhanced immune function, and improved quality of life ratings as well as reduced risk for cancer

/, Physiotherapy/Physical activity is of benefit for cancer patients in general including reduced fatigue, nausea, body fat, anxiety and depression and increased muscle strength, lean body mass, aerobic capacity, enhanced immune function, and improved quality of life ratings as well as reduced risk for cancer

Physical activity is of benefit for cancer patients in general including reduced fatigue, nausea, body fat, anxiety and depression and increased muscle strength, lean body mass, aerobic capacity, enhanced immune function, and improved quality of life ratings as well as reduced risk for cancer

The number of breast cancer patients is continuously increasing in the western world. The number of cured patients is also increasing and those with chronic disease, even if not cured, survive longer [1,2]. Surgery and radiotherapy treatments have developed during the past decades causing less damage to the structures [3]. Still patients are left with more or less impairment of the arm function, in particular those receiving both surgery and radiotherapy to the axilla [4/6]. Many of the current breast cancer patients are born in the ‘40s or ‘50s, belonging to a generation used to working outside their homes and to be physically active during their spare time. After cancer treatment most of these women have a wish to get physically fit again, being able to perform whatever activities they used to perform before the cancer and its treatment. Physical activity is of benefit for cancer patients in general including reduced fatigue, nausea, body fat, anxiety and depression and increased muscle strength, lean body mass, aerobic capacity, enhanced immune function, and improved quality of life ratings [7] as well as reduced risk for cancer [8]. Thus, due to these benefits, it is of great importance that the breast cancer patients do not experience physical restrictions in their daily work or in sports or other spare time activities, but can continue with such activities postoperatively as soon as possible. Some restrictions are associated to arm lymphoedema and reduced shoulder mobility and muscle strength, which are well known late symptoms of the breast cancer treatment [5,9/11]. Treatment of joint range of motion and muscle weakness are areas related to physiotherapy. In order to prevent reduced shoulder mobility, active arm exercises are important. Breast cancer patients receiving no physiotherapy postoperatively show significant limitation in range of motion and function in the shoulder 3 months after breast cancer treatment compared to patients performing active exercises and functional activities [12]. However, in this issue of Acta Oncologica a study is presented by Lauridsen et al. showing that also ‘‘late’’ physiotherapy, starting more than 6 months postoperatively, improved the shoulder function significantly [13]. During the past 15 years lymphoedema treatment has also become incorporated in physiotherapy. Some parts of the lymphoedema treatment, like compression bandaging and garment, are undoubtedly effective [14/16]. However, other parts like manual lymph drainage are still discussed and need to be further evaluated [17]. To be able to maintain the muscle strength of the ipsilateral arm, it is important for the patient to continue on the same activity level, during work as well as in spare time, as soon as possible postoperatively. This possibility is often reduced through restrictions concerning prevention of lymphoedema, when the patient is advised ‘‘to be careful’’ with the arm and to change most of the physical loading to the contralateral arm. On the contrary, postoperatively ongoing work and spare time activities on the same level as preoperatively, seem to reduce the lymphoedema development [18]. Lately, a few studies have shown heavy exercises to be ‘‘safe’’ for such a development [19,20]. Thus, the future for the breast cancer patients seems to contain much more physical activities and less passivity than before. In this field the physiotherapists already are and hopefully will become even more involved, not only advising the patient, but also educating other professionals meeting the breast cancer patient. Finally, to answer the opening question ‘‘Is physiotherapy useful to the breast cancer patient?’’ the answer will be ‘‘Yes, indeed!’’ We now also know that this is worthwhile even if the start is delayed until after 6 months [13], although there is no rationale to postpone the start

http://www.physioblasts.org/f/public/1175181505_223_FT3255_cancer_and_pt.pdf

2016-07-02T11:16:43+00:00January 23rd, 2016|Cancer, Physiotherapy|0 Comments

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