Breast Cancer is the second most frequent cause of mortality in the United States after following Lung Cancer. One in eight women and one male in one thousand are at risk of developing breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society early diagnosis of cancer decreases the mortality rate by 38%.

What Causes Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is related to a combination of non modifiable and modifiable factors as follow:

» Non Modifiable Risk Factors

  • Being Female
  • Older than 65 year old
  • History of breast cancer before 40
  • Family history of breast cancer (two or more first degree relatives with breast cancer)
  • Early menstrual period (before 12 years)
  • Late menopause (after 55 years)

» Modifiable Factors

  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • High fat diet
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Radiation exposure
  • Recent oral contraceptive use
  • Obesity after postmenopausal
  • Not having children
  • Not history of breast feeding

What to Expect After Breast Surgery

  • Pain
  • Lymphedema
  • Decreased Sensation
  • Decreased Range of Motion
  • Nulliparity women

Nulliparity women have high levels of estrogen and progesterone because they never breastfeed. The excess of these hormones proliferated to the breast tissue predisposing to breast cancer.

How to Lower the Risk of Breast Cancer?

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay active
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Ask the doctor about breast cancer screening

Type of Breast Cancer

» Noninvasive or Precancerous or Stage cero

The cancer cells remain within the milk ducts or lobules of the breast and have not spread to other tissues.

» Invasive or infiltrating

Invasive is the same noninvasive type which becomes invasive cancer. This type of cancer infiltrates from the milk ducts to normal breast tissue. According to recent research 50% to 70 develop this type of breast cancer.

Choices Following Breast Surgery

» No more surgeries after mastectomy

Approximately 37% of women choose not to have more surgeries after mastectomy is done. Some women opt for staying flat or without breast reconstruction.

Reasons for not getting further surgeries

  • Avoid additional surgeries
  • Fear of breast implants
  • Is not important
  • Concerned of being unable to detect cancer recurrence
  • Financial issues
  • Prevent complication after surgery

» Mastectomy

What happens to the body after bilateral mastectomy?

  • Changes in spine alignment
  • Postural imbalance
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Forward head posture
  • Shoulder elevation ipsilateral
  • Sway back posture
  • Scoliosis

Breast Prosthesis

A breast prosthesis is an artificial breast form that replaces the shape of the breast instead of surgical breast reconstruction.

Breast prosthesis can be worn with a regular bra or a mastectomy bra.

» Choosing a prosthesis after breast surgery

  • Lightweight prosthesis
  • Made of Silicone (it looks more natural than other breast forms)
  • Cushion on bra strap to prevent shoulder pain

Complications After Breast surgery

Surgical complications can delay the beginning of appropriate treatments to help with recovery including physical therapy.

The most common complication after breast cancer surgery include:

  • Infection. Requires antibiotics and wound care to remove necrotic tissue and assist with the healing
  • Seroma. Accumulation of fluid as a result of an inflammatory response that appears a few weeks after surgery. The seroma usually forms where the tissue was removed to keep the adjacent structures and tissues together. It usually goes away on its own. If the seroma is painful, the physician will drain it to reduce the symptoms.
  • Capsular contraction. The implant feels hard, does not move and causes pain and discomfort.
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Axillary web syndrome
  • Decreased neck and back movement
  • Decreased sensation in hands

What Precautions Should be taken After Breast Cancer Surgery?

  • Avoid blood pressure taken in the compromised arm
  • Avoid wet showers until the drain are removed instead opt for sponge bathing
  • No lifting greater than 5 pounds with the affected arm
  • No extraneous activity too soon
  • No lifting overhead

If you are dealing with breast cancer talk with your physical Therapist at Chaux Physical Therapy at (805)203-9940. Doctor Chaux can help you with your recovery and body function.

The information in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only, its content is provided based upon evidence-based physical therapy research, knowledge, and experience as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT).