Pink October is here. October is Breast Cancer awareness month and we have a lot happening here at Physiofit Woman to promote this cause.

An apology in advance for my long post but this is a cause that deserves our full attention.

In Ireland, over 2.000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

The journey itself is a rollercoaster of emotions. From the moment you find a lump in your breast, neck or armpit to the moment you get a referral from your GP to attend one of the eight breast cancer centres in Ireland. From assessment which includes an examination, a mammogram or ultrasound and a biopsy to the agony of waiting for the results. Some women will be relieved with the results some will continue their journey facing yet another challenge. How to get rid of the cancer?

To plan the appropriate treatment, the Hospital multidisciplinary team dealing with each patient needs to know what stage the breast cancer is. The size of the tumour, the type of breast cancer and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes or other part of the body are crucial information to determine the best course of treatment. Your general health, age and menopause are also taken in consideration.

In terms of treatment, Surgery, Radiation Therapy, Chemotherapy and Hormone Therapy may be used alone or in combination to treat breast cancer. Between 45% and 50% of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer will need a mastectomy.

Whenever possible, women who have had a mastectomy are offered breast reconstruction; sometimes this can be done at the same time as the mastectomy. Often breast reconstruction is done after months or even years from the original surgery.

And this is where post-breast cancer Physiotherapy plays an important role.

Regardless the type of surgery, a qualified Oncology Physiotherapist can help you minimise and manage the after effects of the operation and even prepare you for the breast reconstruction, if this is performed after your mastectomy.

As a Physiotherapist in this particular area, my main goal is to maximise the patient’s physical functioning, independence and well-being and prevent or manage Lymphoedema.

After the operation you may experience pain, limited range of movement, tight scaring and swelling on the affected limb –Lymphoedema.

How exactly can I help you after your breast cancer surgery, you might ask.

I will start with a physiotherapy consultation where I will ask some questions in relation to your cancer journey including type of surgery performed. A medical report from your Oncologist is always helpful as I also need to know that you are cancer free before starting any treatment. During the consultation I will also assess the range of movement and muscular strength of your arm, your skin and scar tissue , the presence of Lymphoedema and axillary web syndrome. In terms of treatment this is what we can offer you here at Physiofit woman:

  • Hands-on Physiotherapy
  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage
  • Bandaging
  • Scar tissue rehabilitation
  • Taping
  • Tailored Pilates exercises

My main goal as a Mastectomy & Lymphoedema Physiotherapist is to minimise the effects of the surgery and help you restore your well-being.

If you think I can help you or know anyone who would benefit from our services please share this blog post.

Post-mastectomy & Lymphoedema Physiotherapy is still a developing area in Ireland and I know first hand from my own patients that there is a lack of awareness on how proper physiotherapy can help you after breast cancer surgery.

Most of my oncology patients found me years after  having their mastectomy or other cancer surgery. Some of them came to my clinic because they had read bestseller’s book “Talk to the Headscarf” by breast cancer survivor and brilliant Irish author Emma Hannigan. “Talk to the Headscarf” is Emma’s cancer journey memoir  and there is a reference to her arm lymphoedema and how she felt after doing Manual Lymphatic Drainage sessions with me. Emma is truly an inspiration to all of us and  after battling cancer for eight times she has now been cancer free for more than one year! In her own words: “Emma – 8/Cancer – 0”

I need your help to raise awareness about Physiotherapy for post-cancer surgery and Lymphoedema as I would love to intervene as soon as possible and not years after surgery.

And as always prevention is fundamental as there is no cure for Lymphoedema.

To help spread the word we are offering 4 sessions of Manual Lymphatic Drainage worth €300 to a lucky winner who could really benefit from our Physiotherapy services.

Stay tuned and join our Facebook competition, starting on Monday the 7th of October, to be in with a chance to win 4 sessions of Manual Lymphatic Drainage.

Read below rules and terms and conditions for this competition.

How to participate to our Facebook competition:

1. Like Physiofit Woman Facebook Page
2. Like our Competition Pink October Picture
3. Add “Pink October” on the comments

Winner will be randomly selected on the 31st of October at 8pm.
Sessions must be availed between November 2013 and December 2013.

Healthy wishes,

Deborah