It seems as if weekly we hear from a patient “why didn’t my doctor or surgeon tell me I would have these problems?” This is a common question after breast cancer surgery. Surgeons and Oncologists are focused on removing the cancer and focusing on a cure. Patients have learned to accept the pain and challenges as just a “new way of life.” Most patients do not know how to ask their providers or tell them what it is they need. They are so thankful for these doctors who have saved their lives, and are unsure how to bring up their new problems of limited daily function. “Just dealing with it” should not be the solution. Rehabilitation prior to and after surgery helps significantly impact a patient’s quality of life and physical functioning in everyday life.

Some issues patients may have are limited range of motion in their arm or shoulder, pulling in the chest or underarm, and myofascial pain like axillary webbing syndrome (cording). Physical therapists with special training can help with all of these issues, as well lymphedema concerns. It doesn’t matter if it has been just a few weeks since surgery or years, rehabilitation is possible. Physical therapists work with the surgeons and oncologists as part of the treatment team to enable patients to return to their usual activities they were able to do before their surgery.

In the State of North Carolina patients do not need a physician referral or prescription to attend physical therapy. They are free to schedule their own appointment. The most important thing for survivors to understand is that they deserve the opportunity to function optimally no matter their cancer.

Avila Physical Therapy specializes in breast cancer rehabilitation, as well as providing post mastectomy fitting services for patients that are in need of bras or breast prosthesis. Just like with physical therapy, a patient does not need a referral or prescription before coming in for a fitting, our office obtains all paperwork necessary on the patient’s behalf. We take post mastectomy fitting patients on a walk-in or appointment basis. If you have any questions about our services or wish to schedule an appointment please give us a call today at 252-215-5525.

Cure Magazine posted an excellent article on ‘Rehabilitating Cancer Care’, click here if you would like to read the article in full. Survivors and Caregivers can also subscribe to Cure Magazine for free on their website.

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