Physiotherapy for Lymphedema #2

Intervention during breast cancer

Breast cancer and its treatments have consequences for the body. Here are the categories of consequences that are commonly experienced:

  • Joint limitation (shoulder, neck and thorax)
  • Muscle contractures
  • Generalized fatigue
  • Muscular weakness with loss of coordination
  • Adhesion of scars
  • Lymphedema

The physiotherapist’s intervention will therefore be targeted at the key elements aimed at improving the overall quality of life of people with breast cancer. It can at the same time have a great impact on the various consequences after the surgery.

In addition, physical activity as well as the establishment of a individualized exercise program are important elements to prevent the side effects named above. The intervention in physiotherapy during the treatment of cancer is imperative to promote the recovery and improve quality of life. Here are some examples of the benefits:

  • Increase muscle strength
  • Reduce general fatigue
  • Reduction of pain
  • Postural reeducation
  • Cardiovascular activation

Lymphedema

Lymphedema is one of the most common complications in breast cancer treatments. Here is the definition of lymphedema in the Canadian cancer society:

“Lymphedema is swelling that occurs when lymph fluid can’t flow normally and builds up in the soft tissues of a limb. Lymphedema usually occurs in parts of the body where lymph nodes have been removed or damaged by cancer treatment. These areas include the underarm (called axilla), neck, groin or pelvis. The risk of lymphedema increases with the number of lymph nodes that are affected. “

Question:
  • Do you think a physiotherapist can help with lymphedema?

 

We will discuss the answer in our next article!
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