VIDEO: Breast Cancer and Common Side EffectsClinical Expertise
Apr 19, 2021
In this video, I’ll be discussing some common treatments for breast cancer and some common side effects that we see in therapy after treatment.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor will likely be deciding between a lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, or some combination of these.
In therapy after these treatments, we commonly see changes in range of motion or reduced range of motion in one or both shoulders, and changes in posture. Frequently, these changes in the position of the shoulder will put pressure on the rotator cuff and put it at risk of injury. injury to the rotator cuff takes a long time to heal. It’s a painful condition and it likely reduces people’s ability to lift and raise the arm.
We also will see axillary cording, also known as axillary webbing, which after injury to the lymphatic system, tissues will become adhered or kind of glued down around the brachial plexus which is a group of nerves and arteries exiting the cervical spine going to the arm. Sometimes you’ll be able to see an actual cord from the surface between the elbow and the shoulder and sometimes you won’t.
In early stages, you’ll feel some discomfort, numbness or tingling, tenderness in this area and that can be a sign that it’s developing.
We also see lymphedema, which is a swelling of the entire arm and hand, again, resulting from injury to the lymphatic system. Fortunately, there are some easy and safe things that you can do after breast cancer treatment and before breast cancer treatment, that can either prevent these conditions from starting in the first place or greatly reduce their severity.
Please see the rest of the videos in this series for those exercises.
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