There are approximately 3.5 million individuals affected by breast cancer currently living in the U.S.1
One study examined the prevalence of impairments in individuals with breast cancer and found 67 percent had at least one physical impairment requiring rehabilitation management.2 Yet, only two (out of 202) people with needs were seen. One of the most feared complications of treatment for breast cancer is upper extremity pain and lymphedema. The incidence rates of lymphedema remain a real threat to quality of life for many individuals affected by breast cancer.
An extensive body of research exists to demonstrate the importance of physical activity on cancer-specific mortality, recurrence, as well as for improving physical and psychological difficulties both during and after cancer treatment.3
Early education, recognition and intervention by specially trained rehabilitation professionals can help mitigate the effects of upper extremity pain, dysfunction and lymphedema. Kathryn H. Schmitz, Ph.D., one of the world’s experts on exercise science in cancer, performed landmark studies known as the physical activity and lymphedema (PAL) trial and Strength After Breast Cancer (Strength ABC). These studies evaluated the effects of resistive exercise (weight training) in breast cancer patients with lymphedema4 and those at risk for lymphedema.5
In addition to showing that exercise is safe for individuals with breast cancer – both with and without lymphedema – these studies demonstrated multiple benefits including:
- 50 percent reduction in lymphedema exacerbations
- 70 percent reduction in the risk of developing lymphedema among the highest risk patients – those with five+ lymph nodes removed
- A reduction in the decline in physical function
- Improved energy, strength and body image, as well as reduced body fat
- Exercise is safe for breast cancer patients at risk for and/or with lymphedema
ReVital has packaged the key components of Dr. Schmitz’s research into the ReVital Strength After Breast Cancer Program. This comprehensive program provides:
- Evaluation and education by a cancer rehabilitation and lymphedema specialist
- Four supervised training sessions spread over 13 weeks to help ensure safe and effective alignment and exercise performance
- An exercise program that involves stretching, strengthening and aerobic conditioning in accordance with the American College of Sport Medicine’s recommendations for exercise prescription for people with cancer 6
- A focus on slow, safe and steady progression
- Supervised visits that include evaluation for other functional and/or physical issues that may require additional specialized rehabilitation therapy
To learn more about the Strength ABC program, download our Strength After Breast Cancer Guide
We have a common goal: to improve your patients’ quality of life. As oncology care providers, your focus is on lifesaving medical interventions. With the growing numbers of individuals affected by breast cancer, the shift to value-based care, and a shortage of oncology care providers, we know you are busy.
As certified cancer rehabilitation therapists, our focus is to support you and individuals affected by cancer. Together, we can optimize function and quality of life through various functional, physical and cognitive rehabilitation interventions.
ReVital’s cancer rehabilitation therapists have been extensively trained in the unique needs of both patients and oncologists. This allows them to serve as key partners to improve patients’ quality of life while helping to reduce the administrative burden on oncology care providers.
- Siegel RL, Miller KD, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2019. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2019;69: 7-34.
- Cheville A, Beck L, Petersen T, Marks R, Gamble G. The detection and treatment of cancer-related functional problems in an outpatient setting. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2009;17: 61-67.
- Schmitz KH, Speck RM, Rye SA, DiSipio T, Hayes SC. Prevalence of breast cancer treatment sequelae over 6 years of follow-up. Cancer. 2012;118: 2217-2225.
- Hayes SC, Johansson K, Stout NL, et al. Upper-body morbidity after breast cancer. Cancer. 2012;118: 2237-2249.
- Paalman CH, van Leeuwen FE, Aaronson NK, et al. Employment and social benefits up to 10 years after breast cancer diagnosis: a population-based study. British Journal Of Cancer. 2016;114: 81.
- Ballard-Barbash R, Friedenreich CM, Courneya KS, Siddiqi SM, McTiernan A, Alfano CM. Physical activity, biomarkers, and disease outcomes in cancer survivors: a systematic review. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2012;104: 815-840.